India better prepared for third wave of Covid: NITI Aayog VC

India is better prepared to deal with the possible third wave of coronavirus, said Rajiv Kumar, vice president of NITI Aayog. Focusing on the evolution of the management of Covid-19, the think tank chief said states have learned their lesson in the face of the pandemic.

“We now hope to exceed our [Covid-19] pandemic … and economic activities will be strengthened as we move into the second half of this (fiscal) year given what I have seen, for example, various indicators including mobility indicators, ”Kumar said to PTI during an interview.

Kumar exuded confidence that the government is much better prepared if a third wave of Covid-19 hits India.

“I think the government is much better prepared now to deal with the third wave of Covid, if any … I think the impact of the third wave on the economy will be much smaller than it is ‘was in the second wave and the start of the first wave, “he said.

NITI Vice President Aayog said states have learned their own lessons from dealing with the pandemic over the past two waves.

Recently, the government approved an additional grant of 23,123 crore, mainly aimed at strengthening health infrastructure given the Covid-19 situation in the country.

Responding to a question about the possibility of the government issuing Covid bonds to raise funds, Kumar said: “Well, give it whatever name you want, the point is if the government needs to borrow more money to increase capital spending, it could go ahead as it will attract more private investment.

He noted that the government should issue bonds, whether they are Covid bonds or infrastructure bonds, the name is not crucial. Kumar further pointed out that bond yields have not risen despite higher borrowing needs from central and state governments.

“This means that there is an appetite for government borrowing and that the deficit would be financed without too much difficulty,” he said.

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