Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Friday that there was no need to panic about the economy due to the coronavirus pandemic, PTI reported. Sitharaman said the coronavirus will be a challenge for India only if it it does not get resolved within three weeks.
Over 2,800 people have been killed in the pandemic so far, most of them in China. However, the virus has spread to more than 20 countries.
On Thursday, the finance minister had said that the government would take steps to ease any supply constraints that businesses may develop if the coronavirus outbreak has not died down after two months, Mint reported. Sitharaman, at a press conference in Guwahati, said that industries fear that their raw material supply will be disturbed if the threat of the virus does not subside soon.
“They did not express any anxiety about raw material supplies or exports getting disturbed,” Sitharaman said. “However, of course, some of them felt that after two months, if the situation does not improve, as regards containing the virus, they may start having problems of raw material availability, for which of course, we are trying to see how best we can help.”
Her statement came on a day when the Indian stock indices recorded their worst performance in years as global markets slumped on fears that the coronavirus outbreak will lead to a recession. The BSE Sensex crashed 1,000 points even when trade opened, and never recovered. The index closed 1,448.37 points lower, at 38,297.29. This was the biggest one-day decline since August 2015 for the Sensex, according to Mint. The Nifty 50, meanwhile, shed 431.55 points to close the day at 11,201.75 – its worst weekly fall since 2009.