Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman Friday held a series of meetings with Aviation, Tourism, Animal Husbandry and MSME Ministries to assess the economic impact of coronavirus on a wide range of sectors and to prepare the government’s response to alleviate the stress caused to the economy due to disruption of economy activity. Speaking to reporters after her meetings, Sitharaman said the Finance Ministry will be compiling all the suggestions and take decisions “as soon as possible” to help various sectors.
Detailed discussions were held with the four ministries and these inputs will aid the proposed Economic Response Task Force in deciding steps to alleviate economic stress.
Many sectors are also telling the government constraints they are facing in work from home and how the government can facilitate that, she said. “Other ministries are also sending their inputs otherwise…The work we are doing will go into the task force’s assignment also,” she said.
To a query on whether government will announce steps for the financial sector, Sitharaman said: “Today the Sebi has come up with a list of regulations, which will also sort of keep the markets a bit stable I would think. But what are doing today I can’t pair it out to say I am doing this for markets but I am doing that for the unorganised sector like that. At the moment we are at the critical stage of collecting everybody’s inputs and also ministry is working in detail about all the inputs that have come.”
After a meeting with the FM on Friday, Union Minister of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries Giriraj Singh said various relief measures for the sector were discussed.
“Livestock industry has been hit badly because of the coronavirus outbreak. We discussed various kinds of measures, including loan restructuring, that can help people engaged in this sector,” Singh said after the meeting, as per a PTI report.
Sitharaman also held a meeting with Minister for Aviation and Housing and Urban Affairs Hardeep Singh Puri, as the aviation sector has been one of the worst impacted. Aviation industry ranging from airlines to ground handling companies and airports are facing financial crunch due to the clampdown on flights to contain coronavirus spread. Stakeholders from the aviation industry in India have demanded government support to help them sail through these headwinds.
While private airport operators have asked for a special cess on passenger tickets to help them deal with additional costs on account of various measures undertaken, ground handling companies have sought support in form of waiver of airport charges, moratorium on statuary and bank payments to help lower the burden.
Airlines, on their part, have made representation to the government to relax the minimum slot-use rules to ensure that they do not have to fly empty aircraft in order to maintain their airport slots in the next schedule.
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