Udayavni Special

COVID-19: FM highlights India’s measures to safeguard ‘lives and livelihood’ of people


PTI, Apr 16, 2020, 8:05 AM IST

New Delhi: India on Wednesday, April 15 pitched for a global cooperation and coordinated action to safeguard lives and livelihood of people while maintaining macroeconomic stability in a sustainable manner.

Participating in a virtual session of G-20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors (FMCBG) hosted by Saudi Arabia, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman also talked about the measures taken by the Indian government to provide the vulnerable sections with swift, timely and targeted assistance.

The outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic or COVID-19 followed by subsequent lockdowns imposed by various countries to prevent spread of deadly virus has badly hit the global economy. The pandemic has infected more than 20 lakh persons around the world and took lives of more than 1.25 lakh people.

In her intervention, the minister talked about the role the member countries can play in “safeguarding the lives and livelihood of people while maintaining macroeconomic stability in a sustainable manner”, said an official release.

She also shared with her G20 counterparts the measures taken by the Government of India to provide the vulnerable sections with swift, timely and targeted assistance.

Sitharaman had earlier at the 2ndExtraordinary Virtual G20 FMCBG on March 31, 2020 talked about the importance of international cooperation and coordinated actions in ensuring that the financial system continues to support and quickly revive the global economy.

In her address on Wednesday, she said that within a couple of weeks India has disbursed financial assistance amounting to USD 3.9 billion to more than 320 million people, with a special focus on direct benefit transfer through digital technology so that the exposure of beneficiaries to public places is minimized.

Sitharaman also said that the policy measures undertaken by the Government of India, RBI and other regulators have helped in de-freezing the market and catalysing credit flows.

These measures include liquidity support of USD 50 billion, regulatory and supervisory measures for credit easing, relief on debt servicing through moratoriums on installments of term-loans, eased working capital financing and deferred interest payments on such financing.

An action plan has been prepared by G20 members on the directions of G20 leaders to protect lives, safeguard people’s jobs and incomes, restore confidence, preserve financial stability, revive growth and recover stronger, provide help to countries needing assistance, coordinate on public health and financial measures and minimise disruption to global supply chain.

Referring to the action plan, Sitharaman said that it was a step in the right direction and would guide individual and collective actions for the G20 members in responding to COVID-19 pandemic in short and medium term.

She expressed hope that the global community would overcome this crisis soon and the lessons learnt would enable countries to develop prudent policy measure to combat any such crisis in the future.

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