Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday made it clear that the decision to grant yet another fiscal stimulus to the industry will be taken only after an assessment of the impact of the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic is completed.
“The process of consulting States and industry is going on. We have not made any final call on this,” Sitharaman said at the press conference post-43rd GST Council meeting.
“The budget has been announced only on Feb 1, we are in May, we have the entire year to go, the second wave has come, there’s not a complete lockdown but yet states have had a lockdown. So we are getting inputs, we need to take a call, we need to understand where the impact is, how much it is and so on. That process of consulting, the states consulting, industry, is going on. We have not made any final call," she told reporters.
Her statements come a few days after industry leaders and eminent economists had advised the government to increase economic support to citizens by giving fiscal stimulus to industries and direct fiscal support to individuals. Many had claimed that last year had seen greater fiscal support from the Central Government, which was inadequate when compared to measures taken by other countries.
“Last year when there was a complete lockdown, the impact and the assessment of the various sectors after due consultations, we assessed it for what it was sometime in August which extended till October so we kept announcing it," she added.