Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that there are no plans to print currency to tide over the COVID-19 crisis. The minister was replying to questions on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy at the Lok Sabha. The questions were put forth by TMC leader Mala Roy.
The government’s stand comes amid suggestions from several industry leaders and quarters to print additional currency.
On how the pandemic affected India’s economic and growth prospects in the last 18 months, FM Sitharaman said that GDP contracted by an estimated 7.3 per cent in FY21 but fundamentals of the economy remain strong.
“As per the latest estimates released by National Statistical Office (NSO), Ministry of Statistics and Program Implementation (MoSPI), India’s real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is estimated to have contracted by 7.3 per cent during FY 2020-21. This contraction reflects the unparalleled effect of the COVID-19 pandemic and the containment measures that were taken to control the pandemic. The fundamentals of the economy remain strong as gradual scaling back of lockdowns, along with the astute support of Atmanirbhar Bharat Mission has placed the economy firmly on the path of recovery from the second half of FY 2020-21,” she said.
On measures taken to revive the economy, the minister replied, “In FY 2020-21, Government had announced a special economic and comprehensive package of Rs 29.87 lakh crore under Atmanirbhar Bharat (ANB) to combat the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, to revive economic growth and to bolster employment. Union Budget 2021-22 has announced a number of measures to support broad-based and inclusive economic development including a 34.5 per cent increase in capital expenditure and 137 per cent increase in health expenditure.” She added that the government announced a relief package of Rs 6.29 lakh crore in June 2021 to strengthen public health.
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