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Economy better equipped to deal with second Covid-19 wave, says Finance Ministry

"As the vaccination drive continuously upscales in India and guided by the learnings of India’s successful management of pandemic during its first wave, India is now well armed to combat any downside risk posed by the recent surge in COVID-19 cases," the Department of Economic Affairs said in its economic report for March.

April 05, 2021 / 02:50 PM IST
Union Finance Ministry. (PC-PTI)

Union Finance Ministry. (PC-PTI)

The Indian economy is more resilient and better poised to deal with the second wave of Covid-19 pandemic, the Finance Ministry's Department of Economic Affairs said in its monthly economic report for March.

"After battling a historic pandemic in FY 2020-21, the Indian economy is poised to build back better and stronger as is reflected in the movement of several high-frequency indicators," the report, released on April 5, said.

"As the vaccination drive continuously upscales in India and guided by the learnings of India’s successful management of pandemic during its first wave, India is now well armed to combat any downside risk posed by the recent surge in COVID-19 cases," it said.

India recorded an all-time high of 1,03,558 coronavirus infections in a day on April 4, pushing the nationwide COVID-19 tally to 1,25,89,067, according to the Health Ministry data. The single-day rise in cases surpassed the earlier peak of 97,894 infections reported on September 17, 2020.

The Finance Ministry's report stated that India has been able to delay the onset of the second wave with the gap between the first peak to start of second wave being 151 days, much higher than in other countries.

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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"At this juncture of onset of second wave, India is well prepared to combat the scourge of the virus. It is well-equipped with adequate testing and health infrastructure and economic activity has adapted to the pandemic. This prospect is, further, bolstered by the fast roll-out of vaccination," it said.

The report said that agricultural sector remained a bright spot in the Indian economy with foodgrains production touching 303.3 million tonnes in 2020-21 beating record production levels for the fifth consecutive year in a row.

The report acknowledged India’s that PMI Manufacturing  data for March and industrial production data for January pointed to a loss in momentum, but said that the manufacturing sector continued to improve sharply, outpacing the long-run series average with firms scaling up production and witnessing upturn in sales.

The report said that instrumental in the economy's resilience "will be a strong revival in investment growth supported by the AtmaNirbharBharat Mission and a massive boost to infrastructure and capital expenditure provided for in the Union Budget 2021-22.

"The wheels of India’s capex cycle have been set into motion, signs of which are imminent in the second half of the year. As With the end of a challenging FY 2020-21, the crest of a brighter and self-reliant FY 2021-22 awaits India," it said.
Arup Roychoudhury
first published: Apr 5, 2021 02:50 pm