India announced an economic stimulus package worth 1.7 trillion rupees ($22.5 billion) on Thursday, designed to help millions of low-income households cope with a 21-day lockdown due to the coronavirus outbreak. The package will be disbursed through food security measures for poor households and through direct cash transfers, said India's Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. Most of the country's 1.3 billion people have been told to stay indoors for three weeks starting Wednesday, as part of the government's efforts to slow down the coronavirus outbreak before India's health care system collapses from the strain. Direct benefit transfer is an attempt by India to ensure that subsidies reach recipients through their bank accounts so that leakages and delays are reduced. Additionally, India will provide a medical insurance cover of 5 million rupees per person for front-line workers in the coronavirus outbreak. The stimulus package may not be enough to move the needle on the economic impact from the lockdown, according to JPMorgan's chief emerging market economist. "India will probably require something much larger than $20 billion of support," Jahangir Aziz told CNBC's " Squawk Box " on Thursday before Sitharaman announced the economic stimulus package. Still, given the state of India's health infrastructure, it would take a "very, very long time" for the country to flatten its infection curve to a point where the system can handle it. Data from the health ministry showed India has 593 active cases of COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus. The package would be disbursed through food security measures for poor households and through direct cash transfers, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said.
You May Also Like