The government has not ruled out direct cash transfers to the poor or migrant workers, and will look at giving cash handouts as the situation evolves, Finance Ministry sources told NDTV. The development comes as the country has entered a third month of a nationwide lockdown to battle the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, which has pushed the economy into a standstill and forced many businesses to trim their workforce. Thousands of migrant workers are stranded across the country and want to go back to their native places.
Meanwhile, the government has also not yet decided on monetising the fiscal deficit or printing money, the sources said, adding that it will do so when needed.
Official data on gross domestic product (GDP) due later on Friday is expected to show the country’s economy grew at its slowest pace in at least two years in the March quarter, as the outbreak has weakened already-declining consumer demand and private investment.
The median forecast from a poll of economists by news agency Reuters put annual economic growth at 2.1 per cent in the March quarter, lower than 4.7 per cent in the December quarter. Forecasts ranged between +4.5 per cent and -1.5 per cent.
The sources also said banks have started to lend.
The government has not heard about any issues with the oil marketing companies, they added.