The government is planning a second stimulus package but there is no specific timeframe. The Indian economy had suffered a severe blow by the COVID-19 pandemic, and now there are signs of recovery with the October GST collection being 10 per cent higher year-on-year.
Ajay Bhushan Pandey, the finance secretary, said the government keeps monitoring the situation on the ground to assess which sector of the economy or segment of the population needs what kind of help at which time and responds accordingly. “We keep taking suggestions from industry bodies, trade associations, various ministries and after going through their suggestions and requirements of the economy, we come out with timely measures,” he told ANI. The finance secretary confirmed that the government was on a second stimulus package, though no timeframe has been set. Deliberations on further interventions were on.
Pandey pointed out that September and October data shows that India has reached pre-COVID-19 level and gone into positive territory. “If we compare with the last year, the E-Way bill in September has seen year-on-year growth of 10 per cent and in October it has seen a growth of 21 per cent,” he said. “If we are able to maintain this growth for the next five months, then we can say that we can transition from deep negative zone to near-zero growth zone by March 2021. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has projected India’s GDP to contract 10.3 per cent this fiscal year, revised from its forecast of a 4.5 per cent decline in June.”
Moreover, the government has started electronic invoices from October 1, and this has prompted an average eight lakh invoices being generated daily. It picked up quickly and on October 30, in a single day 29 lakh electronic invoices were generated. Pandey highlighted the FMCG and auto sectors and said India is going in the direction of sustained growth. “We are analyzing every sector and this is a continuous process. Since the COVID-19 outbreak, we have been continuously monitoring every sector. Whatever was required for helping migrants, vulnerable sections of the rural or urban populations, we did,” he said. “When the nation was in lockdown, we gave cash to women Jan Dhan account holders in their bank accounts through DBT. We provided early instalments to farmers under PM Kisan Yojana.”