The situation has reversed from being on foothills of strong economic recovery to facing a fresh crisis, Reserve Bank of India Governor Shaktikanta Das said in his opening remarks as he addressed the media on Wednesday.
Restoring livelihoods has become an imperative, he said. “We do not expect any broad deviation in our projections,” Mr. Das added.
He said that the RBI will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation in the country, and will deploy all resources under it for the benefit of citizens, business entities, and institutions affected.
Mr. Das said that the IMD forecast of a normal monsoon is expected to sustain rural demand and overall output in 2021-22. It will also have a soothing impact on inflation pressures, he added.
The RBI Governor announced that an on tap liquidity of ₹50,000 crore will be made available for COVID-related healthcare needs. Banks are to treat this as priority sector lending, he said, adding that a COVID-19 loan book will be created by banks to this end.
The news of the unscheduled speech was shared by the RBI from its official Twitter handle. The tweet provided no details on the agenda of the speech.
India has been registering record increase in COVID-19 cases in the past weeks, with the number of total infections crossing two crore.
Two days earlier, the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), a prominent industry lobby group, had urged the government to implement a stringent lockdown to control the situation.