Pfizer's Covid vaccine receives thumbs up in the US:
A U.S. government advisory panel has endorsed the widespread use of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine. According to them, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine appears safe and effective for adults and teenagers. The committee voted 17-4 in favor of the vaccine.
With this, the Pfizer-backed vaccine is one step closer to approval for the US' epic vaccination campaign. The United Kingdom (UK) has already approved the vaccine and is using it for the mass vaccination program.
For India, the Pfizer vaccine appears unviable at the moment. There are storage, distribution, and cost-related issues. India is banking on CoviShield developed by the Serum Institute of India (SII).
India has already secured 160 crore doses of Covid vaccine through pre-purchase. It includes 50 crore doses from Oxford/AstraZeneca and 100 crore doses from Novavax. Both are manufacturing the vaccine in partnership with SII.
India's manufacturing woes:
Under the Atma Nirbhar initiative, the government has put a renewed focus on developing the manufacturing sector. The government has responded with trade barriers and a production linked incentive scheme.
According to Pavan Goenka, MD & CEO of Mahindra and Mahindra, India’s manufacturing sector continues to face roadblocks.
According to him, factors holding back Indian Manufacturing include
a. The high cost of land, power, and capital.
b. Infrastructure inefficiency,
c. Lack of ease of doing business.
d. High logistics cost
e. Weak MSME sector.
Mr. Pavan Goenka wants the Indian government to increase the speed of finalizing its policies and reforms. Yet, India has always been a tough land for bringing new reforms.
Vested political interests and broad cultural differences have always acted as a hindrance. Due to the delay, the reforms often become useless even before being properly implemented.
The progress report of the Atmanirbhar package:
The finance ministry has provided details of the various schemes announced in the Atmanirbhar package. The government has disbursed 50% of the loans under the Rs 3-lakh crore collateral-free guaranteed loan scheme.
Further, Rs 25,000 crore has been disbursed through NABARD. This is for additional Emergency Working Capital Funding for farmers. The government has further infused about Rs 1.54 lakh crore by extending the credit limit for 17 cr Kisan Credit Card (KCC) holders.
The finance ministry has also released Rs 2,300 crore under the interest subvention scheme, applicable on loans from SIDBI and MUDRA. The above-mentioned details form a part of Rs. 20 lakh crores - equal to 10% of India’s GDP- package announced in May 2020.
The recovery post lockdown has been impressive but sustaining it is important. Recently, the Finance Minister spoke about increasing fiscal spending in the budget of 2021-22. We take it as a hint and expect the government to announce further measures in the budget of 2021-22.