Government "Closely Monitoring" Coronavirus Impact On Economy: Nirmala Sitharaman

The Finance Minister said that the process of merger of public sector banks was underway as per the schedule.

Government 'Closely Monitoring' Coronavirus Impact On Economy: Nirmala Sitharaman

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said various options are being gauged at various levels

New Delhi:

The government is keeping a close watch on the impact of coronavirus outbreak on the economy and various options are being gauged at various levels, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Wednesday. It is "closely monitoring" the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on the economy, she said. "We are very closely monitoring it. Secretary-level officials are engaging with their respective industries. I had informed you about various options we have including airlifting raw material for some specific sectors, resourcing from other countries."

"All these are being worked at the concerned department level. We will have quick review of all departments coming back with specific help that they may require. We will collate all these and come back to you," Mr Sitharaman said.

Over 2,700 people have died due to the coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) while the number of those infected is around 80,000. In the wake of the virus outbreak, whose epicentre is China, many airlines - including Indian carriers - have cancelled some of their overseas flights.

Speaking on bank mergers, Ms Sitharaman said there is "no uncertainty about bank merger" and the process is on as per the schedule. The Finance Minister said that the process of merger of public sector banks is underway as per the schedule.

The government had in August announced the merger of 10 state-run banks to create four big lenders. 

According to the plan, United Bank of India and Oriental Bank of Commerce will be merged with Punjab National Bank, making the proposed entity the second largest public sector bank from April 1 this year.

Syndicate Bank will be merged with Canara Bank, and Allahabad Bank with Indian Bank. Similarly, Andhra Bank and Corporation Bank will be consolidated with Union Bank of India.

In April 2019, Bank of Baroda, in the first three-way merger exercise in the country, amalgamated Vijaya Bank and Dena Bank with itself.

State Bank of India (SBI) had merged five of its associate banks - State Bank of Patiala, State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur, State Bank of Mysore, State Bank of Travancore and State Bank of Hyderabad - as well as Bharatiya Mahila Bank with itself effective April 2017.