Omicron in India: Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman says an element of uncertainty continues over the Omicron variant of coronavirus but Indians are resilient, they have shown they can adapt to any situation.
Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday said she doesn’t want to consider the Omicron variant of coronavirus as a threat to India but it's certainly a challenge, and so are supply-side issues.
“An element of uncertainty continues over the Omicron variant of coronavirus. But Indians are resilient, they have shown they can adapt to any situation. We have to give it to them,” she said while addressing the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit.
Sitharaman’s remark comes on a day when a third case of the new COVID-19 strain has been detected in India. A 72-year-old man who returned from Zimbabwe to Gujarat’s Jamnagar has been found infected with Omicron. The earlier two cases were identified in Karnataka. The World Health Organization (WHO) has said Omicron, initially detected in South Africa, may spread more quickly than other forms of the virus.
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Speaking about the new strain’s impact on the economy, the Finance Minister said that though all the indicators about the Indian economy show it is in better shape, Omicron has brought in a moment of caution.
She, however, said the pandemic and the linked challenges have created an opportunity on its own that has led to a rapid formalisation of the informal sector workers.
Meanwhile, Sitharaman was very hopeful that this year’s GDP numbers will be very encouraging. India GDP can be over 6-7 percent, she said.
“India’s engagements globally together with consistent domestic policies , a consistent tax policy and stability for businesses and greater synergy between the Centre and states can lead to good growth,” she said.