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RBI remains ‘steadfast’ to take necessary steps to support economy: Guv

The RBI Governor’s statement gains significance as the Indian stock market has surged amid the pandemic and scaled new highs in the past one month, raising concerns of stretched valuations.

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Shaktikanta Das

New Delhi, Jan 16 : Reserve Bank Governor Shaktikanta Das on Saturday said that the central bank remains committed to take any further necessary measures to support the economy.

Delivering the Nani Palkhivala Memorial Lecture on Saturday, Das said that RBI’s principal objective during the pandemic was to support economic activity and the policies have helped in easing the severity of the economic impact of the pandemic.

“I would like to unambiguously reiterate that the Reserve Bank remains steadfast to take any further measures, as may be necessary, while at the same time remaining fully committed to maintaining financial stability,” he said.

RBI’s approach to the Covid situation included measures such as loan moratoriums, easing of working capital financing and deferment of interest restructuring among others.

Speaking of the recent bull run in the financial markets, the RBI Governor said that domestic financial markets must remain prepared for sudden decline going ahead in case risk aversion takes hold among investors globally.

“While abundant capital inflows have been largely driven by accommodative global liquidity conditions and India’s optimistic medium-term growth outlook, domestic financial markets must remain prepared for sudden stops and reversals, should the global risk aversion factors take hold,” he said.

The RBI Governor’s statement gains significance as the Indian stock market has surged amid the pandemic and scaled new highs in the past one month, raising concerns of stretched valuations.

This is the second time in a week that Das has raised concerns regarding the bullish trend in stock market.

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Farmer leader Sirsa won’t appear before NIA on Sunday

Without mincing words, he said, “The government is trying to ‘torpedo’ our agitation.”

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Baldev-Singh-Sirsa

Amritsar, Jan 16 : Farmer leader Baldev Singh Sirsa on Saturday said he will not be able to appear before the counter-terror task force, National Investigating Agency (NIA), on Sunday owing to his pre-occupations relating to the wedding of his granddaughter and he would remain busy in family affairs till February 7.

He said he got the notice on WhatsApp at a short notice and there was no formal notice from the agency.

The President of Lok Bhalai Insaf Welfare Society, one of the unions participating in talks with the Government of India over the new farm laws, on Friday night came to know from a reporter that the NIA issued him a notice in connection with a case registered against banned outfit the Sikhs for Justice (SFJ).

Talking to the media in this Punjab city, Sirsa accused the central government for trying to derail the farmers’ protest by adopting various means.

“First, they (the government) tried to put pressure on us (farmers) through people and politicians and then through the Supreme Court. Now it is using the NIA,” he said candidly.

Without mincing words, he said, “The government is trying to ‘torpedo’ our agitation.”

Accompanying three others who too got the NIA notice regarding the case against the SFJ activists, the farmer leader, who didn’t participate in the last and the ninth round of talks between the farmers and the government, asked the NIA to give him time to appear before it after February 7.

“Before it, it is difficult for me to appear (owing to the marriage of my granddaughter),” he said.

Sirsa said many people associated with the agitation have got the NIA summons. “The government tries to terrorise those working for farmers. We are not afraid and going to bend with such tactics. The government is bent on defaming the protest.”

In a surprise move, the NIA has sent notices to over a dozen of people, including a journalist, farmer leaders associated with the agitation and others, in connection with its probe into the SFJ case.

The NIA last month filed a charge sheet against 10 Khalistani terrorists, including US-based designated terrorist Gurpatwant Singh Pannu, in the Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) case in the special NIA court in Mohali in Punjab.

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Medicine as well as rigour needed, avoid rumours: PM Modi

‘Covishield’ and ‘Covaxin’ vaccines will be administered to an estimated three lakh healthcare workers across the country with the first dose on Saturday as India makes history by touching a new milestone in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Narendra Modi

New Delhi, Jan 16 : Launching the world’s largest Covid-19 vaccination programme, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday warned people to avoid rumours and gave a fresh message of “Ab dawai bhi, kadai bhi” (now medicine as well as rigour).

On the occasion, the Prime Minister said that India’s medical system and vaccine scientists have a lot of credibility throughout the world and people should avoid rumours being spread against the two Indian manufactured vaccines cleared for emergency use.

Noting that India has gained this trust from its track record, Modi said, “Do not believe in rumours being spread against the two ‘Made-in-India’ vaccines.”

As the vaccine against Covid-19 is launched, the Prime Minister gave a new slogan to keep people safe from the deadly disease, saying “Ab dawai bhi, kadai bhi” (now medicine as well as rigour).

‘Covishield’ and ‘Covaxin‘ vaccines will be administered to an estimated three lakh healthcare workers across the country with the first dose on Saturday as India makes history by touching a new milestone in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Prime Minister began the world’s largest Covid-19 vaccination programme on Saturday while virtually launching the two vaccines in India aimed at ending the pandemic which so far has killed 1,52,093 people in the country and ravaged the economy.

Addressing the country digitally, the Prime Minister said that India managed to make two ‘Made-in-India’ vaccines in a very short period which usually takes years.

Lauding the efforts of scientists who are involved in vaccine research, Modi said they deserve special praise for making these vaccines and that “the vaccines will provide us a decisive victory against the deadly pandemic”.

The Drug Controller General of India earlier this month approved ‘Covishield’ and ‘Covaxin’ vaccines for emergency use. The Oxford University and AstraZeneca have developed ‘Covishield’, which has been manufactured in India by Serum Institute of India in Pune while Bharat Biotech has developed ‘Covaxin’.

The Prime Minister said the “whole world is accepting the way India has dealt with this epidemic.”

Modi said that India has set an example with united steps being taken by the Centre and state governments, local bodies, every government institution and social institutions.

The Prime Minister further reminded people to get two doses of the vaccine, explaining that “there should be a gap of almost one month between the first and second doses”.

“Only two weeks after the second dose, your body will develop the necessary strength against coronavirus,” the Prime Minister said.

Noting that this kind of vaccination campaign on such a large scale has never been done in history, Modi said “India is vaccinating three crore people in its first phase of vaccination starting today and the government will bear the cost of the vaccination to be administered to healthcare workers”.

In the second phase, the Prime Minister said “we have to take it to 30 crore”.

“Those who are elderly, who are suffering from serious illness, will get vaccinated at this stage. You can imagine, there are only three countries in the world with a population above 300 million – India, China and the US.”

The Prime Minister got emotional while describing the sacrifice of corona warriors during the Covid crisis.

“At the time of Covid crisis and in the atmosphere of despair, someone was transmitting hope by putting his or her life in danger to save us. It was our doctors, nurses, paramedical staff, ambulance drivers, ASHA workers, sweepers, police and other frontline workers.”

The Prime Minister launched the vaccination drive at a time when India registered 1,05,42,841 Covid infections till Saturday with 15,158 new cases in the last 24 hours, as it continued with its streak of low single-day cases. A total of 1,01,79,715 people have recovered from the disease and currently there are 2,11,033 active cases. The recovery rate stands at 96.56 per cent, while the fatality rate is 1.44 per cent.

After the Prime Minister virtually launched the vaccination programme in India, almost three lakh beneficiaries, belonging to the priority groups, will be administered the silver bullet at over 3,006 vaccination sites across the country. Around 100 beneficiaries will be vaccinated at each session site.

Till now, the central government has procured 1.1 crore ‘Covishield’ and 55 lakh ‘Covaxin’ vaccines at a cost of Rs 200 and Rs 206 per dose, respectively.

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