Monday, 30th October 2017

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Government prepares antidote for coronavirus impact

According to a CII analysis, China supplies 43% of India’s imports of the top 20 goods

  • Published 19.02.20, 12:41 AM
  • Updated 19.02.20, 12:41 AM
  • a min read
Nirmala Sitharaman in New Delhi on Tuesday. PTI

The government on Monday said it would soon announce measures to counter the impact of the coronavirus outbreak in China amid fears of a supply disruption and higher costs because of procurement from other places,

“The government has reviewed the impact of the outbreak of coronavirus on industry… Based on comprehensive consultation, some measures will be announced soon,” finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman told reporters after meeting industry representatives and other stakeholders to assess the impact of the virus, which is now officially known as Covid-19.

It is too early to talk about the impact of the outbreak on the Make-in-India initiative, said Sitharaman, assuring that there were no concerns about a price rise so far.

The government had convened the meeting after industry expressed apprehensions that the outbreak of the disease in China would also impact the Indian economy, which is struggling to raise consumption and accelerate economic growth.

Sitharaman said she would hold a meeting with the secretaries of different ministries on Wednesday and then announce steps to deal with the situation in consultation with the Prime Minister’s Office.

“All the concerned departments would be contacted by the finance ministry’s different secretaries and the principal economic adviser. The issues raised will be informed to them. They will apply the mind and come back tomorrow (Wednesday) afternoon so that we talk about the possible solutions, she said.”

Describing the pharma, chemical and solar equipment segments as the worst-affected, the finance minister said disruptions are very visible in these sectors because of the delay in shipments.

Task force

Industry association CII requested a task force to be set up to address the spillovers of the virus.

India Inc has also called for a reduction in import duties on antibiotic drugs, mobile parts and other items to help cope with the fallout from the outbreak.

“The coronavirus pandemic in China is impacting critical inputs for the Indian industry which may adversely impact small businesses and some jobs. A joint government-industry task force can institute risk mitigation measures on an immediate basis,” the CII said.

According to a CII analysis, China supplies 43 per cent of India’s imports of the top 20 goods, including mobile handsets ($7.2-billion import from China), computers ($3 billion), integrated circuits and other inputs ($7.5 billion), fertilisers ($1.5 billion), API ($1.4 billion) and antibiotics ($1.1 billion).