The Ministry of Finance on Sunday said that India may have crossed the peak of the coronavirus pandemic in September as cases had declined, while tests were increased during a 14-day period. It, however, cautioned that the pandemic was from over.
“Data for the 14-day period from September 17 to 30 suggests that India may have crossed the peak of Covid-19 case-load,” the finance ministry said in its monthly outlook report for September. “During this period, the seven-day moving average of daily positive cases has steadily declined from about 93,000 to 83,000 while the seven-day moving average of daily tests have risen from about 1,15,000 to 1,24,000.”
The ministry said that the “declining positivity rate” across India has set the stage for further economic recovery. It said that all stakeholders need to work towards this goal as restrictions imposed during the nationwide lockdown are lifted as access and mobility are eased.
India crossed a landmark milestone as active Covid-19 cases continued to be less than 10 lakh for 14 days continuously. The country’s coronavirus count rose to 66,23,815 on Monday with 74,422 new cases in the last 24 hours, according to the health ministry data. The toll increased by 903 to 1,02,685. So far, more than 55 lakh people have recovered from the virus in India. The recovery rate stood at 84.34%.
The report said that people need to focus on “self-protection with due precautions” more than “social distancing”, which fits the context of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s tweaked idiom of “health along with prosperity” from “prioritising health over prosperity”.
The ministry also spoke about the government’s effort to boost the economy, including reforms in the agriculture, Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises or MSMEs, labour and other sectors.
It said that the reforms in the agriculture sector was long overdue, which had kept Indian farmer enslaved to the local market and middlemen. The ministry was referring to the three farming bills passed in Parliament during the recently-concluded Monsoon Session.
“While every other category of producer in India had the freedom to decide where to sell his/her produce, the Indian farmer did not. The local monopolists created by this legal infrastructure enabled the intermediaries to prosper at the cost of the farmer, especially the poor ones without the wherewithal to store their produce. The agricultural reforms enable the farmer to sell where he gets the best deal and thereby enable competition that is sine qua non to create welfare for the small farmer.”
— Ministry of Finance
The ministry in its report said that the MSME sector needs to be an early driver of the economic recovery as it employs more than 11 crore people. It praised the MSMEs for their “strength and resilience” when the sector made India the second largest manufacturer of personal protective equipment kits in the world.