Coronavirus grips Indian economy: Traders at home scared stiff by China’s deadly virus

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Published: February 20, 2020 3:16 PM

China had earlier expressed hope that India will not put trade restrictions and limit movement of people to the country in the wake of the coronavirus epidemic.

Indian retail industry is facing the heat of China’s coronavirus pandemic and traders are worried about supply slump of key materials from China owing to India’s overdependence on its neighbour. “All exports have been completely stopped and it is apprehended that it may cause substantial disruption in the supply chain of the country,” CAIT said in a statement on Thursday. The trade body has also requested the Prime Minister Narendra Modi to constitute a GoM to look into the matter. India, which imports not just finished products from the neighbouring country but also raw materials that are crucial to various industries, is heavily dependent on its neighbour. Due to cheap imports from China, Indian importers rarely looked for alternatives, and are now struggling for supplies. 

Making India next China for exports

India is not the only country which is dependent on China for crucial raw material. However, due to the pandemic, it is highly likely that the country won’t be able to start exporting before several months. India can leverage the market gap and look into becoming an alternate hub to exports “by encouraging more and more people to set up production facilities in India under the Make in India program,” Praveen Khandelwal, Secretary-General, CAIT said. The government must also ensure that India isn’t over-dependent on any country so that it’s economy is saved from crippling, he added.

India is already facing headwinds of slowdown and threat from coronavirus might aggravate India’s problems. RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das also recently acknowledged that a couple of sectors in India are expected to see some disruptions owing to coronavirus. However, he also said that the government is looking at alternatives to overcome those issues. 

Meanwhile, the death toll has crossed 2,100 in China, according to the National Health Commission (NHC). The deadly virus originated in Wuhan city of China’s Hubei province. 

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