Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Wednesday asked the industry to wait and watch for the next few days to assess the situation. Addressing national executive committee members of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), the Finance Minister also said that industries will get oxygen supply once the medical need for oxygen is met.
In the virtual interaction, the minister assured the industry of the government's support. Sitharaman said that the government is keeping an eye on all developments on the COVID-19 front and that it would take necessary steps to bring about a positive change. The minister urged the industry that is sceptical about growth amid the second wave to wait and watch for the next few days to assess the situation.
"With all the steps, we should hope to see a positive change in the way the second wave of the pandemic is moving. I would want you to keenly observe what is going on. We are together with the industry in this. I am sure all of us together will understand how best to now ramp up and sustain the growth momentum which we are keen to see between the last quarter and this one," Sitharaman said.
"With the Prime Minister's address to the nation, along with the new vaccination guidelines and the five-fold strategy adopted in handling Covid-19 cases -- i.e., test, track, treat, Covid-19 protocol and vaccination -- there will be a sense of reassurance," she added.
Sitharaman also said that oxygen supply in the country has been neatly mapped and will be monitored closely at district level for the next 15 days. She further stated that various new permissions have been given by the government to multiple states including Delhi, Maharashtra, and Uttar Pradesh to ensure sufficient supply of oxygen.
"The government has exempted all inter-state movement of oxygen tankers from the requirement of registration and permits. They can operate round the clock. Cylinder-filling plants are operating 24 hours to fill the gaps with necessary safeguards," said Sitharaman.
The minister also said that the government is taking measures to ensure adequate supply of coronavirus drugs such as Remdesivir. Sitharaman said that the production of the medicine will be ramped up to 1 lakh vials per month within the next few months.
FICCI members requested the government to support micro, small and medium enterprises as they are currently facing a lot of hardships. FICCI President Uday Shankar said spelling out what qualifies as essential goods and what not would clear a lot of confusion in the industry.