The 'Trust' Factor
The Finance Minister has called for complete trust between the industry and the government. It will be vital to ensure growth amid the COVID-19 situation, she emphasized.
The FM also discussed the steps that the centre has taken so far to revive the economy. She called for policy continuity and maintaining effective communication with India Inc.
India Inc has stood by and provided able support to the government during these trying times. They have been instrumental, especially in supplying oxygen. A few have even set up new plants or started producing oxygen at their existing facilities.
During the first COVID-19 wave, India Inc had shown the same solidarity. It had played a crucial role in overcoming the ventilator shortage. These are admirable efforts that the nation should recognize.
Big Jump in Export of Processed Food
During April 2020 - February 2021, India's export of processed food products grew by 26.51%. It shot up to Rs 43,798 crore despite the pandemic-related challenges.
Major export items included pulses, processed vegetables, processed fruits and juices, groundnuts, guar gum, cereals preparations, milled products, alcoholic beverages, and oil meals.
Export of processed vegetables and alcoholic beverages grew by more than 40% during that period.
The demand for pulses, processed fruits and vegetables, and cereals has also increased in recent months. The Middle East, Far East, US, and the UK have emerged as major export destinations.
The huge Indian diaspora is spread across the globe. It offers a huge export market for Indian processed food. The industry has not yet grown to its full potential. The industry must now concentrate on sustaining the increased demand for Indian processed foods.
Biggest Weekly Slump
Last week was the worst in terms of business activities in India. Under the impact of the ongoing second COVID-19 wave, it was the steepest weekly fall in over a year.
The Nomura India Business Resumption Index (NIBRI) dropped by a sharp 8.5% to 75.9 for the week ended April 25. The decline was on account of increasing restrictions and cautious consumer behaviour.
This research indicates that the second COVID-19 wave has begun to make its presence felt on India's economy.
So far, the government has refrained from imposing strict lockdowns. It allowed economic activities to continue. Yet, several restrictions are in place now. It has begun to impact activities at the ground level.