Economic Affairs Secretary Tarun Bajaj on Tuesday claimed that India’s growth story was intact despite the coronavirus pandemic, ANI reported.

“Despite the coronavirus situation, our growth story, which we feel is intact, is also accepted by others, who are ready to invest in India,” Bajaj told reporters during a virtual conference of the Ministry of Finance. “We continue to see an uptick in economy for past few months since opening up of economy post lockdown.”

Bajaj also said Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will announce the next set of stimulus package soon to bolster the pandemic-hit economy, according to PTI. “We are actually discussing that,” he added. “It is difficult for me to commit a date but we have received a lot of requests and comments from various sectors and we are looking into it. Very soon it will be unveiled. The finance minister will come out and speak to you on that.”

On Sunday, Finance Secretary Ajay Bhushan Pandey had also hinted that the Narendra Modi government is working on another stimulus package, but refused to divulge details or give a timeframe.

On October 12, Sitharaman had announced LTC cash vouchers and special festival advance schemes for government employees to boost demand.

Bajaj said the Centre is expecting the economy to improve in November during the festival season. “The economy is moving much faster than anticipated by economists,” the economy affairs secretary said. “This is mentioned in IMF report, which says India’s growth should be 8.8% in next financial year, which is highest for major economies.”

On the rising food prices, Bajaj said it was a temporary phenomenon and that the government has taken measures to reduce costs.

Indian economy

India faces the biggest contraction of major emerging markets in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

The lockdowns imposed by the Narendra Modi government on March 25 was the world’s largest, causing the economy to contract by a record 23.9% in the April to June quarter. Economic activity has resumed after the government eased lockdown restrictions.

On October 13, the International Monetary Fund predicted that the Indian economy would contract by 10.3% in 2020-’21. The Washington-based lender, in its World Economic Outlook report, had said “revisions to the forecast are particularly large for India, where GDP contracted much more severely than expected in the second quarter”.

It has also estimated that India’s per capita Gross Domestic Product will shrink 10.3% ending March 31, 2021, while the figure in Bangladesh is expected to grow 3.8%. With these projections, India would be the third-poorest country in South Asia. Pakistan and Nepal would be the only countries with lower GDP. Bangladesh, Bhutan, Sri Lanka and Maldives would be ahead of India. The IMF predicted that Sri Lanka would be the second-most-affected after India. Sri Lanka’s per capita GDP is expected to shrink 4.6% in the current calendar year.