On Tuesday, 17 March, in a written reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha on the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on the Indian economy, Minister of State for Finance Anurag Thakur said that "As is true for the world at large, India's near-term macroeconomic outlook also vulnerable to disruption of trade with China and second-round effects arising from expected slowdown in global growth.”
He further mentioned that the latest available data on trade and indicator of domestic output don't suggest any adverse impact on economy. Additionally, a positive impact on India's economy may arise from decline in global oil prices triggered by outbreak of COVID-19.
The minister said that the outbreak of coronavirus has emerged as a key risk to human health as well as the global growth outlook through numerous channels like trade, production and supply chain disruptions, decline in demand, lower tourism and business travel, loss of investors' confidence, and productivity losses from the morbidity and mortality of the work force, reported news agency IANS.
“The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has been coordinating the efforts of the Central government in terms of preparedness, control and containment measures and has also been working with state governments in order to mitigate the impact of the virus outbreak in India,” he said.
In order to address the possibility of trade-induced adverse impact on the economy, the minister said that the government is constantly engaging with Export Promotion Councils and trade bodies, particularly in the pharmaceutical, electronics and automobile sectors where the supply chains are sourcing imports from China.
“These agencies have been put in touch with Indian Missions abroad to secure and transport inventories available with the existing suppliers,” the minister said.
He also stated that Indian Missions abroad have also been asked to explore alternate sources of supply of raw materials in their respective countries for supporting India's domestic production.
With regard to domestic availability of fertilizers, the impact of COVID-19 seems to be negligible at this juncture, the minister said.
He said that a Group of Ministers is constantly reviewing the current status, and action for prevention and management of COVID-19 and two meetings of the same were held on 11 March.
On Wednesday, 18 March the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in India rose to 147, comprising 122 Indian nationals and 25 foreign nationals, according to the Health Ministry.
One more person, who has a travel history to France and Netherlands, tested positive for coronavirus in Maharashtra’s Pune on Wednesday, ANI reported. This takes the total number of positive cases to 18 in Pune and 42 in Maharashtra.
(With inputs from IANS and ANI)