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Coronavirus pandemic|Government may announce financial package early next week

It is widely being expected that the next round of relief measures will offer sectoral help.

April 30, 2020 / 05:47 PM IST

The government may announce by early next week the second relief package to tackle the economic fallout of the coronavirus outbreak, an official said of the decision that could coincide with the end of the lockdown on May 3.

"It should be announced by early next week. The final contours are still being fixed but should happen soon," a government official said, requesting anonymity.

The outbreak and the lockdown, which is in its sixth week, have hit all sectors of the economy.  Restrictions are likely to be eased from May 4 in places with no infections or fewer cases but coronavirus hotspots are unlikely to get relief.

"The focus of the government right now is to reach out help for survival," the official said. "Sector-specific help will happen eventually. The focus right now is to reach out healthcare and subsistence to those in dire need."

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) on April 14 slashed India’s forecast, projecting a GDP growth of 1.9 percent in 2020. This comes at a time when the global economy is staring at its worst recession, with the virus bringing economic activity due to a grinding halt.


COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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On April 27, India Ratings and Research (Ind-Ra) revised its FY21 growth forecast for the country down to 1.9 percent, lowest in the 29 years, from 3.6 percent. According to Ind-Ra, the Indian economy registered a growth of 1.1 percent in the financial year 1991-92.

Ind-Ra said its growth projection was based on the assumption that a partial lockdown would continue till mid-May.

"GDP may come back to the fourth quarter of 2019-20 fiscal level only by the third quarter (October-December) of current 2020-21 fiscal, anticipating resumption of normal economic activities during the second quarter (July-September) of 2020-21 and festive demand during the third quarter of current fiscal (October-December)," it said.

The rating agency said on the fiscal front, the dip in tax/non-tax revenue due to the lockdown, growth slowdown coupled with the need to provide fiscal stimulus will destabilise the fiscal arithmetic of both union and state governments.
Moneycontrol News
first published: Apr 30, 2020 05:47 pm
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