Safety net for pandemic

Need to rejig economy to tide over the crisis

Safety net for pandemic

A few days back, the European Central Bank launched a Pandemic Emergency Purchase Programme to keep economies afloat amid the Covid outbreak that has seen many countries going for a lockdown, threatening livelihoods and shutting down businesses. Under the programme, the bank will buy government and company debt to soothe markets. The asset purchasing programme is in keeping with the demand for economic stimulus in these countries. The demand made by the Punjab Chief Minister and his MP wife for a comprehensive revival package to mitigate the adverse effects of the Covid outbreak needs to be seen in this light. While Captain Amarinder Singh sought additional wheat for people under the food security mission, Preneet Kaur demanded that the Central government intervene in the form of temporary aid or resource package for the poor and the daily-wage earners.

Countries across the globe have realised the need to rejig their economy as the world is not quite prepared to deal with the worst. China faced criticism for acting late so that its economy would not get affected. PM Modi assured there would be enough supplies and that the nationwide voluntary lockdown would last only a day. He later announced the formation of a financial task force to support sectors affected by the pandemic like aviation, tourism and services. Among the slew of measures proposed is the decision to give banks the flexibility to schedule EMIs and cut GST in case the growth rate declines to below 4 per cent, besides ensuring adequate supplies of medical kits and medicines.

On Friday, Himachal Pradesh sent back about 600 vehicles carrying tourists from Delhi, Punjab and Haryana. Rail and bus services, along with flights, have been suspended across the country. The consequent loss of revenue could be colossal. The nation has to gear up to avoid slipping into the recession zone.

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