Because of the dates and uncertainties, the finance ministry’s assessment of the second wave’s economic impact will take a little longer, she said.
India’s macroeconomic fundamentals are healthy, as seen by solid investment flows into the nation, according to Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in an exclusive interview with Business Standard.
“The high frequency indicators were robust just before the second wave of the pandemic hit, be it domestic factory orders, goods, services, electricity consumption, foreign direct investment flows, foreign exchange reserves, and so on,” she said.
In response to a query on the quick rise in stock market indexes and the Reserve Bank of India’s warning about a bubble, Sitharaman said she doesn’t want to draw any conclusions. “It’s a different storey if it’s a bubble, in which case we must be prepared. “However, I don’t believe it’s a bubble,” she stated.
Despite the fact that the Union Budget 2021-22 was presented two months before the second Covid-19 wave wreaked havoc on the economy, Sitharaman said the Budget was “tailor-made” for the pandemic and that she would focus on the Budget’s execution and implementation before deciding what additional relief measures were needed.
Because of the timings and uncertainties, the finance ministry’s evaluation of the effects of the second wave on the economy will take a little longer, she said, adding that she will need more time to respond directly to any questions for quick relief measures.
She did not, however, rule out support for troubled industries. “Right now, my interactions with industry and states are taking place. Why would I want to say anything more about additional relief measures before I had a clear understanding of the consequences?” According to Sitharaman.
Despite the inconvenience caused by the second wave, she emphasised that the government remained committed to its fiscal disinvestment target of Rs 1.75 trillion. “I will do everything I mentioned in the Budget this year, including everything that the cabinet has already agreed and stated in Budget 2021-22, including Air India,” he added. The privatisation process is on track, according to the finance minister.
Sitharaman would not rule out an increase in vaccine funding beyond the Rs 35,000 crore set aside this year. “…as we negotiate with more suppliers, I’m willing to give more than what has been allotted in the Budget if necessary. But first, let’s spend the Rs 35,000 crore,” she remarked.