Sitharaman says vaccination must for economic rebound, 3rd wave prevention
Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Sunday said that vaccination against Covid-19 infection was the only “medicine”, which, when taken, will allow businessmen and farmers to carry out their work, enabling growth of the economy. She also said that it was the only way to prevent a third wave of the disease.
“Vaccination is the only medicine for [the growth of the] economy. For people to buy and sell or farmers to carry out farming in their land,” Sitharaman said at the centenary celebrations of Tamilnad Mercantile Bank Limited in Thoothukudi district. She added that 730 million eligible beneficiaries have received at least one dose for free across the country.
Sitharaman’s comments came on a day when Tamil Nadu administered at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine to 2.5 billion people through 40,000 camps across the state.
Sitharaman said that hospitals located in rural areas were able to spruce-up facilities during the second wave of the disease by availing of the schemes announced by her ministry and were praying for the third wave not to happen. “But if it does occur, we are looking into the availability of hospitals. Do they have an ICU and even if there is an ICU, do they have oxygen support? For all these questions, the ministry announced a scheme on June 28, allowing hospitals to expand capabilities during the second wave,” she said.
Sitharaman praised the Nadars-- a powerful backward trading community-- for creating the bank, which, she said, had gained wide acceptance. “It has a countrywide presence and deposits of more than ₹41,000 crore….Through the report by Tamilnad Mercantile Bank, we are able to see that they take the schemes announced by the ministry to the beneficiaries (hospitals). It is necessary that not only the public sector banks, private sector banks also follow suit,” she said.
The finance minister also spoke on the banking sector’s role in bringing about financial inclusion as championed by the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana. “It’s only because of the Jan Dhan Yojana that a poor woman can set up a small idly business, even without a shop, on a pushcart,” Sitharaman said.
“Businesses are not just for the rich. The Prime Minister understood that banking is the right of every citizen, that’s why he implemented the Jan Dhan Yojana,” Sitharaman said, and added that the opening of these bank accounts had helped the Union government in giving direct financial assistance to those affected by Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown.