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RBI Governor says India not immune, coronavirus may slow down growth

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Reserve Bank of India Governor Shaktikanta Das said that India is not immune to the deadly virus and trade channels could be affected as exposure to China is relatively high. He also added that growth momentum of the country could be impacted by COVID-19.

"India is not immune to this pandemic. Already more than 100 cases have been reported. Efforts are being mounted by the government on war-footing. COVID-19 could impact India directly through trade channels, in which exposure to China is relatively high," he said.

Governor Das said, "Second round of effects of the pandemic could operate through a slowdown in the domestic economic growth and it would obviously be a result of synchronised slowdown in global growth. As a part of that, the growth momentum in India would also be impacted somewhat."

Shaktikanta Das' comments on the pandemic come as manufacturers in the country are feeling the heat of the disturbance in the supply chain. The Parliament was informed on Wednesday by Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal that due to the shutdown of factories in China, industries such as pharma, electronics and automobile that import components and raw materials could be affected.

In a separate press conference, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman also said that the government and state governments are continuously monitoring and making sure that timely and effective steps are taken. "Each department is working best on ways to provide relief," said the minister.

The RBI Governor also spoke about the troubled Yes Bank at the press conference on Monday. "Swift action has been taken by the RBI and government of India. The lifting of moratorium will be on Wednesday, 18th March at 6pm. The new board will assume its position and the office of the administration will cease to exist on March 26," he said.

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