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Inflation | India well-armed to tackle second wave: Finance Ministry

Inflation | India well-armed to tackle second wave: Finance Ministry

India was well-armed to combat any downside risk posed by the recent surge in Covid-19 cases on account of the vaccination drive and its experience from managing the pandemic during the first wave, the finance minister said in its Monthly Economic Report for March.

The boost to infrastructure and capital spending in the budget along with the AtmaNirbharBharat Mission would contribute to the resilience of the economy and lead to brighter prospects in the new fiscal, the report said.

“More than 6.5 crore first doses (4.8 per cent of current population), and 1 crore second doses (0.7 per cent of current population) have been administered – third highest after US and China,” it said in a chapter titled, ‘Vaccination plus Precaution: Twin Armour to Stop COVID-19 in its tracks’.

Sustained improvements across a majority of economic indicators showed that India’s recovery was resilient despite the second wave, the finance ministry said.

Goods and Services Tax (GST) collections hit an all-time high of nearly Rs 1.24 lakh crore in March along with the issuance of 71.2 million GST e-way bills during that month, the highest in three years.

“Tightening of compliances, increased rigours in audit /investigation and leveraging technology has widened the tax base supporting higher collection for past six months without any increase in GST rates,” the report said.

The agricultural sector remained the bright spot of the economy as foodgrains production touched 303.3 million tonnes in 2020-21, beating record production levels for the fifth consecutive year in a row, it said.

In terms of capital expenditure, October-February saw a 104.4% annual growth while the figure stood at 14.3% for FY21. “This will be pivotal in bringing back the economy on a high growth trajectory, thereby facilitating buoyant revenues and a sustainable fiscal path in the medium term,” the ministry said.

Going forward, the report was optimistic about the combined impact of the new Development Financing Institution (DFI) and the National Bank for Financing Infrastructure and Development (NaBFID) would have on the economy, stating that the wheels of India’s capex cycle have been set into motion.

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