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Last updated: 14 Apr, 2020  

Manufacturing.9..Thmb.jpg Anxious wait for a stimulus

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Bikky Khosla | 14 Apr, 2020

We are all witness to the devastation the Coronavirus is having on humankind. Just three months ago, the world was brimming with all kinds of activities, and now it is on a standstill. The entire humanity is struggling and it seems that fear has spread to every nook and corner of the planet. While globally the number of COVID-19 cases has crossed millions, the economic impact of this deadly pandemic is driving billions of people to despair. And a solution yet seems far off.

Fortunately, India, as of now, is in a far better position than many other countries, in terms of both infection and death rates, probably due to a well-timed lockdown. Also, the Centre has come out with a Rs 170,000-crore relief package, giving a much needed relief to the weaker sections of the society. So far, so good. But the 21-day nationwide lockdown, which is now extended till May 3, has taken a massive toll on the Indian industry, which now desperately needs a fiscal stimulus to ride out the crisis.

During the last few days, demand for sops and support measures has been raised by almost all industrial sectors. Economists and business leaders are pitching for the same. Several industry bodies have come out with similar suggestions. No doubt, the situation currently facing us is unprecedented and there is not an iota of doubt that an all-out effort by the government is now of utmost necessity to protect the domestic industry and the livelihood of millions of workers it provides.

The MSME sector needs special attention in this regard. Besides fiscal stimulus, what is no less important at this crisis moment is a composite MSME policy framework to soften the economic blow rendered to the sector. Similarly, the export sector, which is already on the verge of losing millions of jobs, is facing extreme hardship. The pandemic has, in fact, brought many firms, particularly MSME exporters, to the brink of closure. In such a situation, it is clear that only a massive stimulus can save the day for the Indian industry.

I invite your opinions.

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