Govt working on a financial package for sectors impacted by coronavirus
The government is working on a financial package for various sectors, including civil aviation and tourism, to deal with the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic that has impacted the economy.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday announced setting up of a task force under Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to take necessary actions "in the near future" after analysing the coronavirus pandemic situation.
According to government sources, Sitharaman will hold a meeting with MSME Minister Nitin Gadkari, Animal Husbandry Minister Giriraj Singh, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri, and Tourism Minister Prahlad Singh Patel on Friday to assess the situation in order to work out a package.
The government is assessing the situation on a daily basis as there has been a significant impact on the economy, the sources said.
The finance ministry has already held a series of meetings with various ministries and departments, they added.
In his address to the nation, Modi said that keeping in mind economic challenges posed by the coronavirus outbreak, the COVID-19 Economic Response Task Force will be set up.
"The task force would be in constant contact with all the stakeholders, take their feedback and after analysing the situation take necessary decision in the future," he said.
The task force will also ensure that all decisions taken to tide over the economic crisis are effectively implemented, he said, adding that the pandemic has greatly impacted the economic well-being of the middle, lower-middle, and the poor sections of the society.
On Thursday, the fourth death due to coronavirus infection was reported in the country and more than 170 people have tested positive so far.
"In this time of crisis, I appeal to all business and the high-income sections of the society to be sensitive towards the economic interests of all those whose services you take. It is possible that in the coming few days, these people may not be able to attend work, and in this situation, please do not cut their wages. Decide humanely and sensitively," Modi said.
There are mounting concerns that companies, including ones in India, could resort to retrenchment due to the sluggish demand and various restrictions in place to curb the spread of coronavirus.