Nirmala Sitharaman assures industry of support, says it should wait and watch to assess situation amid COVID-19 surge


New Delhi [India], April 21 (ANI): Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Wednesday urged the industry to wait and watch for next few days to assess the situation amid the second wave of COVID-19 pandemic and assured it of full government support.

Addressing the FICCI national executive committee members through virtual mode, Sitharaman said that the new vaccination guidelines and five-fold strategy adopted in handling the COVID-19 cases — test, track, treat, COVID-19 protocols and vaccination — there will be a sense of reassurance.

She also referred to Prime Minister’s address to the nation on Tuesday.

“With all these steps, we should hope to see a positive change in the way the second wave of COVID-19 pandemic is moving. Industry is watching out and I would want you to keenly observe what is going on and we are together with the industry in (fighting) this (pandemic). I am sure all of us together will understand how best to now ramp-up and sustain the growth momentum which all of us are keen to see between the last quarter and this quarter,” the minister said.

“I would request the industry to watch the next few days a bit more carefully, and then assess for yourself what this quarter is going to be like,” she added.

She said that sectors like hospitality, aviation, travel, tourism and hotels faced great difficulty since the start of COVID-19 pandemic. “We have extended the Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme (ECGLS 2.0) for these sectors and I will ensure the efficiency with which it was performing last year shall perform even for the aviation and tourism sector,” she said.

Referring to oxygen supply, she said it has been very neatly mapped and new permissions have been given particularly for the hard stressed 12 states and union territories.

“The government has exempted all inter-state movement of oxygen tankers, exempted from registration and permits, they can operate round the clock, and cylinder filling plants are operating 24 hours to fill the gaps with necessary safeguards,” she said.

The minister said fast-track approvals have been given to ramp up Remdesvir production.

She said as soon as the medical oxygen demand will be met, the industry would also get the necessary supply of oxygen since the import of medical oxygen has been allowed.

Mr Uday Shankar, President, FICCI, stressed on the need to support the MSME sector “which is currently under difficulty”. (ANI)


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