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Covid-19: IMF’s Gopinath praises India response to pandemic

Covid-19: IMF’s Gopinath praises India response to pandemic

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Virendra Pandit

New Delhi: Showering accolades on India for being at the forefront in fighting the global pandemic, International Monetary Fund (IMF)’s Chief Economist Gita Gopinath has said the country has played a very important role during the crisis by manufacturing and shipping the Covid-19 vaccines to many countries.

“India really stands out in terms of its vaccine policy,” the well-known Indian-American economist commented in a virtual interactive session during the inaugural Dr. Hansa Mehta Lecture on the occasion of International Women’s Day on Monday, organized at the United Nations.

“I also want to mention that India really stands out in terms of its vaccine policy. If you look at where exactly is one manufacturing hub for vaccines in the world – that will be India”, Gopinath said.

She lauded the Serum Institute of India (SII), which produces the most number of vaccines in the world in a regular year and has been manufacturing the Covid-19 vaccine doses that are delivered to COVAX and then distributed to countries around the world.

India has been at the forefront in fighting this pandemic, she said, noting that the country has been providing vaccines through grants to several of its neighbors, including Bangladesh, Nepal, and Myanmar, and through commercial arrangements as well.

The country has been playing a very important role in helping the world in the global health crisis through its vaccination policies, she said.

Gopinath pointed out that India makes up about 7 percent of world GDP based on purchasing power parity terms. “So, when you’re that large, what happens in India has implications for many other countries in the world, especially countries in the region,” she said.

India was hit very hard by this pandemic, Gopinath said, adding the country, which typically grows at over 6 percent, recorded a growth of negative 8 percent in 2020. “Now you do see the recovery coming back as the country has reopened, activities returning,” she said.

The IMF has projected an impressive 11.5 percent growth rate for India in 2021, making it the only major economy of the world to register double-digit growth this year amidst the pandemic.

Now because of its size, when you have India growing, it increases the demand for goods from other parts of the world and that’s a big positive, she said.

Gopinath delivered the keynote address at the Dr. Hansa Mehta Lecture which is named in memory of the pioneering Indian reformer and educator. It was organized virtually by India’s Permanent Mission to the UN and the United Nations Academic Impact.

Dr. Mehta had served as the Indian delegate to the UN Commission on Human Rights from 1947 to 1948 and is widely known for ensuring a more gender-sensitive language in the landmark Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). She was credited with making a significant change in the language of Article 1 of the UDHR, by replacing the phrase All men are born free and equal to All human beings are born free and equal.

Anita Bhatia, Assistant-Secretary-General and Deputy Executive Director of UN Women described Mehta as an exceptional leader who was willing to take personal and professional risks, one who had the ability to speak truth to power, had the courage of her convictions, and most importantly, someone who had a simple and yet very powerful belief in the need for social, economic, and political justice for women.

Under-Secretary-General Melissa Fleming, head of global communications for the United Nations, said Mehta built an enormously rich legacy during her life as a scholar, educator, feminist, social reformer, and writer and is an indispensable figure to the history of the United Nations.




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