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COVID-19 Pandemic Continues To Impact Developing And Developed Countries – Nirmala Sitharaman, Finance Minister

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has said the government has taken a host of initiatives, including a stimulus package totalling 10 per cent of the country’s GDP and major reforms in the labour sector, to combat the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Participating in the 102nd meeting of the World Bank Development Committee Plenary, Sitharaman said the COVID-19 pandemic, which started before its last meeting in April, continues to impact the developing and developed countries.

The hard fought gains in reducing the level of poverty, achieved over a number of years, are at great risk of being lost, she added.

The Government of India has taken several measures to contain the spread of pandemic, and also to mitigate its social and economic impact, Sitharaman said. The government had announced the first stimulus of USD 23 billion to provide direct cash transfers and food security measures to poor, she said.

This was followed by a special economic package of USD 271 billion — equivalent to 10 per cent of India’s GDP — based on a clarion call by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ or self-reliant India, she pointed out.

“Measures have been announced to provide relief to the business, bring about major reforms in the labour sector by simplifying, amalgamating and rationalising 44 central labour laws, provide effective social protection to the migrant workers through National Portability of ration cards,” she said, as per a statement issued by the finance ministry.

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