Finance Minister says steadiness in economy a good sign

Finance Minister says steadiness in economy a good sign
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Mumbai: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday said the "steadiness" in the economy is a good sign, soon after the official data showed the...

Mumbai: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday said the "steadiness" in the economy is a good sign, soon after the official data showed the December quarter GDP growth at 4.7 per cent. Speaking at CNBC TV 18's business leadership awards event, Sitharaman made it clear that she was not expecting a jump in the number either.

On the impact of coronavirus on the economy, she said there is no need to immediately press the "panic button", but admitted that it may get challenging if the issues prolong for another two or three weeks, citing her conversations with the industry players over the last few days.

She also said the pharmaceutical and electronic industries, which depend heavily on imports from China for raw materials, have suggested airlifting of essential items and the government may consider the same. However, the logistics of the same, like aggregating the goods and getting them to a single place will have to be done by the industry itself, she said, promising help from the government through the consular staff.

Sitharaman said the government is "pushing the banks like never before" to lend as much as possible across all categories, including retail, home and agriculture segments. She, however, said that the government wants to learn from the experiences of the 2008-09 and ensure that there are no non-performing assets piled up for later years.

Sitharaman said the government is working creating a development finance institution (DFI), as were bodies like ICICI and IDBI before they turned into full-fledged banks.

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