As governments around the world announce multibillion stimulus packages to revive economies, India will get an economic task force, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in his first nationwide address since the coronavirus pandemic hit India on Thursday (March 19).
While addressing the country about measures taken by the government to control the spread of coronavirus, Modi said that the virus is also impacting India’s economy and that’s why the government has now set up an economic response task force. It is worth noting that the finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman will be heading the task force. “Under finance minister, the government has decided to form a Covid-19 economic response task force,” Modi said.
The task force will also take the responsibility to ensure that the decisions taken by the government are implemented effectively. It will continuously take feedback and suggestions from industry stakeholders to take necessary actions. “The task force will listen to industry stakeholders and take steps accordingly to minimise the impact of this deadly virus on the economy,” Modi added.
Modi also urged business leaders, startup founders, and entrepreneurs to look after the interest of their employees. He also asked them to not penalise the employees for not turning up to work due to travel and other restrictions. “In this time of crisis, I appeal to all business and the high-income section 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 added.
According to a TOI report, Sitharaman is expected to hold meetings with MSME minister Nitin Gadkari, animal husbandry minister Giriraj Singh, aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri and tourism minister Prahlad Singh Patel to assess the economic crisis. The meeting, which is expected to be held on Friday, might also announce some relief packages for industries which have been impacted the most in the wake of coronavirus outbreak.
Some of these sectors are aviation and hospitality. It is estimated that India’s travel and hospitality industry is expected to take a revenue hit of around INR 8500 Cr due to the suspensions of travel plans due to coronavirus outbreak. Moreover, a recent report by B2B SaaS platform RateGain had highlighted that the total number of hotel bookings in around 90% of Indian states and union territories witnessed a sharp decline in February.