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Last updated: 24 Mar, 2020  

Hands.Together.9.thmb.jpg Corona crisis: Time to fight together

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Bikky Khosla | 24 Mar, 2020

Amid the ongoing Coronavirus crisis, a report last week said that a mix of conventional and unconventional fiscal and monetary policies would be required to prevent a sharper plunge in economic activity. It adds that maintenance of a proactive liquidity regime and facilitating stability in financial market is need of the time. At the same time, fiscal measures are required at least to provide relief to people at the lower strata, affected most by shutdown of commercial activities in the country.

In a similar tone, an industry body has viewed that the central bank should announce an emergency rate cut of at least 50 basis points before its scheduled bi-monthly Monetary Policy Committee meeting in April. No doubt, the Coronavirus outbreak has diminished the expectations of a global recovery in 2020, and in this scenario, the RBI should -- in line with global central banks—besides going for rate cuts -- must take innovative measures to address the ongoing concern.

Meanwhile, in a meeting with Finance Minister -- who heads the recently constituted Covid-19 Economic Response Task Force -- the MSME ministry has sought deferment of payments liability like goods and services tax, loan repayment and electricity bills. It has also sought a moratorium for repayment of MSME loans. Following this, industry body Assocham has also come out with proposal for a blanket year-long moratorium by banks on debt repayment for both corporates and individuals.

Not an iota of doubt, this is a testing time and the government must do its part to fight it. But at the same time, we all must do our part as pointed out recently by our Prime Minister, who appealed the business community and higher income groups to look after the economic needs of those from lower income groups. The Corona crisis has already hit had the economic activities in the country, and an orchestrated, all-out efforts is the call off the time.

I invite your opinions.

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