Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman
Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman urged the industry to wait and watch for next few days to assess the situation amid the second wave of Covid-19 pandemic, while assured it of full government support.

Addressing the FICCI National Executive Committee members through virtual mode, she said that with the Prime Minister's address to the nation, along with the new vaccination guidelines and with the five-fold strategy adopted in handling the Covid-19 cases - i.e., test, track, treat, COVID-19 protocols and vaccination - there will be a sense of reassurance.

"With all these steps, we should hope to see a positive change in the way the second wave of Covid-19 pandemic is moving. Industry is watching out and I would want you (industry) to keenly observe what is going on and we are together with the industry in (fighting) this (pandemic). I am sure all of us together will understand how best to now ramp-up and sustain the growth momentum which all of us are keen to see between the last quarter and this quarter," Sitharaman added.

"I would request the industry to watch the next few days a bit more carefully, and then assess for yourself what this quarter is going to be like," the Finance Minister exhorted.

Sitharaman stated that sectors like hospitality, aviation, travel, tourism and hotels faced great difficulty since the start of the pandemic. "We have extended the Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme (ECGLS 2.0) for these sectors and I will ensure the efficiency with which it was performing last year shall perform even for the aviation and tourism sector," she said.

FICCI President Uday Shankar said that some clarity may be needed over essential and non-essential supply of goods. He further stressed on the need to support the MSME sector which is currently under facing difficulty.

On Tuesday, she said that there should be complete trust between the industry and the government to sustain growth amid the COVID-19 situation. Former defence minister said this while addressing a seminar organised by the Merchants' Chamber of Commerce & Industry. She added the Centre has taken several steps to ensure that revival of the economy continues despite a raging second wave of the pandemic.

"There should be complete trust both between the government and the industry and vice versa to sustain growth.

There should not be disturbances in the continuity, which lead to mistrust or distrust," she said.

Speaking about West Bengal, the minister said industries in the state require "oxygen" along with a globalised approach to prosper.

"Industries in the state need a lot more oxygen to flourish. The history of India was written from Bengal... but even a signature product like the Darjeeling tea is now languishing.

"Kolkata used to shine with industries in the past, it should do so again. Bengal and its tradition have to be preserved and protected," the senior BJP leader said.

Later, talking to reporters, Sitharaman said there is no doubt that the BJP is coming to power in West Bengal, "where every sector is in need of help".

"Once the saffron power forms government in the state, funds will be provided to the

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