A major economic crisis, induced by the Covid-19 outbreak, is knocking on India’s doors even the country is buried ten feel under the pressure of mounting virus tally.
New Delhi, June 11:
India is staring at Rs 10 lakh crore revenue loss due to the Covid-19 outbreak even as the country’s economy opens up amid looming risk of the deadly virus.
Union minister Nitin Gadkari on Wednesday said that India is expected to lose revenue of Rs 10 lakh crore due to the coronavirus crisis. He said that the situation was so grim that some states do not have money to pay salaries next month.
Meanwhile, S&P Global Ratings has forecast that India’s economy to shrink by 5 per cent in the current fiscal. It, however, has projected GDP growth to be 8.5 per cent in 2021-22 and 6.5 per cent in 2022-23.
India’s problems are compounded as even though the government has decided to reopen the economy to cap the financial bloodshed caused by the extended lockdown, several states may have to reimpose it to curb the Covid-19 outbreak.
The total number of cases in India registered a jump of 9,985 on Wednesday, taking the nationwide tally to 2.76 lakh. Delhi and Mumbai – the country’s political and financial capitals – registered over 1,500 fresh cases within a day. While the Delhi government said it expects the city tally to breach 1.5 lakh by July 31, Maharashtra CM has warned that if people failed to follow rules, he will have to reimpose the lockdown.
Rs 10 lakh crore revenue loss
Union minister Nitin Gadkari on Wednesday said that the country is expected to lose revenue of Rs 10 lakh crore or 5 per cent of India’s GDP due to the coronavirus crisis. Addressing the BJP’s Jan Samvad virtual rally here through video link from Nagpur, the situation was so grim that some states do not have money to pay salaries next month.
“The Indian government’s revenue has been hit. We have a GDP of Rs 200 lakh crore. Ten per cent of it, around 20 lakh crore package, has gone to industries, farmers…,” Gadkari said referring to the stimulus package announced last month. “There will be around Rs 10 lakh crore revenue receipt deficit. So if with Rs 200 lakh crore (GDP), Rs 30 lakh crore go this way, (one can imagine) what serious situation it will lead to,” the senior BJP leader said.
But the minister for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises said the situation will have to be dealt with positivity, “All of us are facing a tough time. We are facing a crisis. We cannot face it with negativity, frustration and fear. We have to fight the coronavirus with self-confidence and positivity.”
Meanwhile, S&P global rating agency retained India’s sovereign rating at the lowest investment grade of ‘BBB-‘ for the 13th year in a row, even as it said the economy and fiscal position will stabilise and begin to recover from 2021 onwards. S&P Global Ratings has forecast India’s economy to shrink by 5 per cent in the current fiscal. It, however, has projected GDP growth to be 8.5 per cent in 2021-22 and 6.5 per cent in 2022-23.
Covid-19 claims life of Tamil Nadu MLA, nationwide tally crosses 2.76 lakh
As per the Covid data released by the Union Health Ministry of Wednesday morning, a spike of 9,985 cases of novel coronavirus in 24 hours in India took India’s case count to 2.76 lakh. The death toll climbed to 7,745 after over 270 fatalities were recorded in a single day. As per the updated figures of the health ministry, 1,35,205 have recovered in India.
Among the people who lost their battle to the deadly virus is DMK MLA Anbazhagan from Tamil Nadu. Anbazhagan had been getting treatment for Covid-19 at a private hospital in Chennai and his condition had been deteriorating for the past few days.
The 62-year-old leader is the first elected representative to die of the virus-induced illness in the country.
Number of recoveries exceed active cases for first time
Meanwhile, the Centre has expressed hope over the success of India’s efforts to fight novel coronavirus. According to the Union Health Ministry data, the number of recovered COVID-19 patients has exceeded the total active cases in India for the first time on Wednesday.
The number of active cases in the country stands at 1,33,632, while 1,35,205 people have recovered and one patient has migrated, the ministry said.
“Thus, 48.99 per cent of the patients have recovered so far,” an official said.
Dr Neeraj Gupta, professor in the Department of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine at the Safdarjung Hospital in Delhi, said the data shows that more and more people are recovering which is as per global trends that 80 per cent are likely to have mild disease and make 100 per cent recovery.
“This should provide hope to the people of India at large who are having a mortal fear of the disease. But then this should not make them complacent and people should follow social distancing and sanitization guidelines,” Gupta said.
Delhi, Mumbai register over 1,500 cases in a day
While the Centre claimed that the situation is under control, India’s two main cities Delhi and Mumbai registered a spike of over 1,500 cases within a day. While Mumbai registered 1567 on Wednesday, Delhi registered 1501 cases.
Mumbai also witnessed the highest number of deaths due to Covid-19 on Wednesday. The city recorded nearly 100 deaths, taking the city toll to 1857. Delhi’s Covid mortality figure stands at 984.
Delhi has added 10,000 cases in just eight days since June 1, prompting estimates that the national capital will reach a tally of 5.5 lakh cases by July 31. Delhi government has said that the city will need 1.5 lakh hospital beds by the end of the next month.
Meanwhile, Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray appealed to people to follow the restrictions imposed to curb the Covid-19 spread. Addressing a presser, Thackeray said that the pandemic was far from over and people must stay away from crowd areas to keep themselves protected. He said that if people failed to follow rules, he will be forced to reimpose lockdown.
Several states like Mizoram have already announced lockdown due to spike in Covid-19 cases. Several villages in Goa have also imposed the lockdown on themselves.
Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain on Wednesday said there is “transmission in the community” but only the Centre can declare if it is so.
Community transmission is a technical term, he said, putting on the onus on the Centre.
His remarks come a day after Deputy Chief Manish Sisodia told reporters that the Centre has said there is “no community transmission” of the novel coronavirus infection in the national capital.
“There is transmission in the community. But if it is community transmission or not that can be declared by the Centre only. It is a technical term,” a statement quoting Jain said.
A day earlier, Jain had told reporters that the source of infection is not known in nearly half of the fresh cases being reported in the national capital.
Meanwhile, Meghalaya government also issued a statement related to doubts about community transfer.
Meghalaya Deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynsong said on Wednesday that there has been no community spread of the coronavirus in the north-eastern state.
His statement comes amid concerns as a 72-year-old man of a village in Ri-Bhoi district with no travel history tested positive for Covid-19 late on Tuesday.
Meghalaya is yet to have a single case of community transmission of the coronavirus, Tynsong told reporters, adding that all the patients are quarantined. At present, there are 30 active coronavirus cases in Meghalaya, where a total of 43 cases were detected.
Rajasthan restricts border movements
The Rajasthan government on Wednesday imposed restrictions on the movement of people at its state borders because of a surge in Covid-19 cases in the state.
As per new restrictions, anyone who wants to leave the state will have to get a pass, which will be issued by district authorities and police. People entering the state, however, do not require a pass. But they will have to go through screening at the border crossing.
According to directives issued by Additional Chief Secretary Rajiv Swarup, the restrictions have been imposed after it was noticed that people were traveling out of hotspot areas despite a suspicion of Covid-19. “It has come to light that some people moved from hotspot areas to other states while their results for Covid-19 test were awaited. Later, their reports came back as positive. Now, they have put people in the other states at risk,” the letter said.
Additional Chief Secretary Rajiv Swarup has directed the concerned authorities to set up check posts at state borders, railway stations and airports.
WHO retracts statement about transmission from asymptomatic patients
World Health Organisation (WHO) has issued a clarification and retracted a statement made by one of its top epidemiologists where she said Covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, is rarely transmitted by asymptomatic cases.
On Monday, when Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO’s technical lead on Covid-19, was asked about the frequency of transmission, she said, “It still appears to be rare that asymptomatic individuals actually transmit onward.”
According to a report published in Reuters, Kerkhove said that many countries undertaking contact tracing had identified asymptomatic cases, but were not finding they caused further spread of the virus. “It is very rare,” she said.
However, on Tuesday, Kerkhove issued a clarification saying she was actually referring to a few studies and not the complete picture.
This retraction and clarification came after disease experts raised questions experts about the statement issued by WHO’s top expert on Covid-19. They said this statement could pose problems for governments as they seek to lift lockdowns.