India To Announce Relief For Coronavirus-Hit Sectors Soon: Nirmala Sitharaman
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. (Photo: PTI)

India To Announce Relief For Coronavirus-Hit Sectors Soon: Nirmala Sitharaman

The government will try to announce a relief package for coronavirus-affected sectors as soon as possible, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman told reporters today.

The finance ministry is compiling recommendations and will hold an internal meeting on Saturday to firm an action plan to deal with the crisis, Sitharaman said after a meeting with officials of tourism, hospitality, civil aviation and animal husbandry sectors.

“I had a meeting with tourism, MSME, civil aviation, animal husbandry sectors. These ministries presented an assessment of their sector after consultation with their stakeholders,” Sitharaman said.

The finance minister said she couldn’t comment on the severity of impact on individual sectors or by when an announcement would come.

“The government will try to do it as quickly as possible," she said. “We had a detailed discussion in the presence of the Finance Secretary and Economic Affairs Secretary. We are compiling their suggestions,” she said after the four-hour meeting.

The ministry will hold an internal meeting on Saturday to firm up the action plan to deal with the crisis, she added.

On Thursday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his address to the nation had said the government is setting up a 'Covid-19 Economic Response Task Force' to decide on relief package for sectors hit by the coronavirus outbreak.

The finance minister also said the task force announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi is yet to be constituted.

“Task force is not yet constituted but keeping in mind the sense of urgency, the ministry was holding this meeting. Of course, when the task force is constituted it will also get the benefit of these meetings. Other ministries are also sending us their suggestions,” she said.

The coronavirus outbreak has so far infected 236 people in India and claimed four lives, even as global death toll mounted the 10,000 mark. Twenty-three people have been cured or discharged. More than 6,700 people are also being monitored, Joint Health Secretary Lav Agarwal said on Friday, even as several state governments stepped up measures to fight the virus spread.

(With inputs from Bloomberg and PTI)

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