Covid-19: Let Budget schemes kick in before asking about stimulus, says finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman

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NEW DELHI: Battling crises has become second nature for finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman. If it was the economic slowdown in 2019 when she took charge, now the Covid pandemic that hit India soon after in 2020 poses near-, medium- and long-term challenges.
In an interview with TOI’s Sidhartha, Surojit Gupta and Rajeev Deshpande, the FM made it clear that funds will not be a problem either for healthcare or meeting other requirements of the economy, while maintaining that it was impossible to anticipate the speed and intensity with which the second wave hit the country. Excerpts:

How has the second wave affected GST collections?
It will certainly be better than what we used to get in October-November, but with some states under lockdown — and the e-way bills are indicating that — there could be some reduction. I want to maintain April’s level (of Rs 1.4 lakh crore). But I…

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