Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has said the Modi government will announce an economic package for the coronavirus-hit sectors "as soon as possible". Without mentioning a tentative date by which the package could be announced, the FM said several ministries were coming up with their suggestions and that the task force will analyse all those proposals. The Finance Minister under Sitharaman will also hold a meeting today to decide its action plan.
Speaking to the media after meeting ministers and officials of civil aviation, animal husbandry, tourism and MSME ministries, the FM said: "I had a meeting with tourism, MSME, civil aviation, animal husbandry sectors. These ministries presented an assessment of their sector after consultation with their stakeholders. We had a detailed discussion in the presence of the Finance Secretary and Economic Affairs Secretary. We are compiling their suggestions."
The FM said the Economic Task Force announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi was yet to be formed. "Taskforce is not yet constituted but keeping in mind the sense of urgency, the ministry was holding this meeting. Of course, when the task force is constituted it will also get the benefit of these meetings. Other ministries are also sending us their suggestions," she said.
She also said the government, at the moment, was collecting inputs from ministries and that the picture on the economic package would clearer soon. On providing the relief package to the financial sector, the FM said: "SEBI has come up with a list of regulations which will also sort of keeping the markets a bit stable. But I can't say what I am doing for the markets. At the moment, we are at a critical stage of collecting everybody's inputs and also the ministry is working in detail about all the inputs which have come."
The special COVID-19 economic task force announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday will likely work on an economic package for the sectors most affected by the coronavirus outbreak, including informal sectors. He said the task force would ensure that all necessary steps were taken to reduce the economic difficulties arising out of the crisis. He also urged the FM-led task force to implement them effectively.
As per experts, the task force will have to take drastic steps like relaxation in NPA (non-performing assets) norms, deferral of tax payments and the announcement of income support to the people working in the unorganised sector.
Notably, travel, tourism and hotel industries are some of the worst-affected sectors due to travel bans, social distancing and suspension of business activities. While other related sectors like fuel minerals, electricity and water and rubber, plastic, coke and petroleum products, etc are also likely to be impacted adversely.
Coronavirus outbreak has disrupted the global economy, and countries, trade blocs are taking fiscal measures to overcome the crisis. While India is yet to come up with a rescue package in wake of coronavirus crisis, major economies of the world have announced billions of dollars worth bailout packages to offset losses due to the COVID-19's outbreak.