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India may be past COVID peak, but virus risks remain: Finance Ministry

New Delhi: India may have crossed the Covid-19 peak and the declining positivity rate will help fuel an economic recovery, the finance ministry said, while adding that it was ‘not averse to taking any further measures to ameliorate suffering of people’. The economy was ‘regaining normalcy’, with a palpable resurgence in demand in many sectors, the ministry’s Department of Economic Affairs said in its monthly review for September. The upcoming festive season is expected to further bolster growth in the wake of improvement in many high-frequency indicators, it said. The report pointed to case data for the second half of September in support of its argument on Covid.

“Data for the 14-day period from September 17 to 30 suggests that India may have crossed the peak of Covid-19 case load,” it said in the report on Sunday. But it warned that the pandemic is far from over and said that the sustained spread of the virus poses a downside risk to shortterm and medium-term growth. The finance ministry has been active in supporting those who were worst hit by the pandemic and will continue to do so.

“The government is open to all possibilities and the finance minister is not averse to taking any further measures to ameliorate suffering of people,” the report said. “Ministry of Finance has taken proactive and prompt action both in policy and in implementation to serve the people in a holistic manner, especially providing support to those who need it the most.”

In the two-week period cited above, the seven-day moving average of daily positive cases declined to 83,000 from about 93,000 as the seven-day moving average of daily tests rose to 124,000 from 115,000, it said. Active cases shrank 0.4% on September 30 compared with 1.65% growth as of August 31. “The declining positivity rate at all-India level sets the stage to further push up the frontiers of economic recovery,” it said. Almost all sectors of the economy were showing a steady recovery with some even surpassing last year’s performance based. Apart from this, the latest data on power consumption, mobility and exports also show the economy picked up pace in September.



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