Nirmala Sitharaman: Covid-19 vaccine will aid process to economic recovery by next year

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday said that with Covid-19 vaccine to hit the market soon, the country’s economy will definately be in the path to recovery. 

Replying to a question, Sitharaman said that once a coronavirus vaccine gets clearance and the cost price per dose is known only then anything can be said about fund allocation.

‘Whichever Covid-19 vaccine gets cleared, we need to know the cost per dose and other details before allocating funds for it,’ she told during Hindustan Times Leadership Summit 2020.

‘We don’t know details of the Covid-19 vaccine. Will it be one dose or two-doses? Or will there be recurrent doses? Unless we get these details, how much per dose will cost, we can’t say about vaccine’s budgetary provision,’ she added.

Sitharaman said that the environment is much different now as compared to when she had presented the budget earlier this year. She also shared that, although some would describe it as ‘patchy’ but economic recovery has consistently been taking place.

She did not agree with the view that proper recovery will have to wait till 2022-23 and said it will happen next year itself and the vaccine will aid that process.

‘Every sector is showing a clear indication that recovery is happening,’ she said. Sitharaman added that inflation on food prices will not continue. ‘It can be attributed to seasonal fluctuation. With periodic intervention from government, the blip in inflation will ease out,’ she shared.

She further said that just the pent-up or festival demand cannot explain consistent over Rs one trillion GST collections for two months.

‘Yes, normally this is a season when festival demand always adds a bit more fervour to the demand which prevails through in a year. I also see reports and I am also talking to industry leaders who are looking at capacity expansion,’ she emphasised.

Sitharaman said that in core sector industries – like cement, iron and steel, integrated plants all are going for capacity expansion.

Replying to inflation related question, Sitharaman said that she was not worried about inflation to the extent that there are seasonal ups and downs in prices.

She said this blip in inflation, particularly in food items, will ease out. ‘I don’t see inflation in food items will continue. It will have to come down,’ she pointed out.

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