NCP chief Sharad Pawar on Monday said everyone needs to be ready for the impact of coronavirus outbreak on the country’s economy as business activities have come to a standstill.
He said the country’s economic situation looks “grim” and according to experts, the GDP would come down to two per cent.
Taking to Facebook for live interaction with people of the state, the former Union minister asked citizens to stop unnecessary expenditures and stay at home to contain the spread of the deadly viral infection.
“We should be ready to brace the impact of looming economic crisis over the country as all types of business activities are suspended. People need to do away with their unnecessary spending habits for the next coming weeks as the country’s economic situation looks grim,” he said.
“I also appeal to people to stay at home and prevent the spread of coronavirus infection. Otherwise, police will have to use force to keep them indoors,” he said.
To a question from a Facebook user on the economic crisis, Pawar replied, “Almost all types of business activities have come to a standstill. This situation will have a long-lasting impact on our economy. Experts have said our GDP would come down to mere two per cent.”
“We need to take things seriously, especially the youth who are found venturing out on the streets without any valid reason. People’s cooperation is important,” he said.
0He also said that the Maharashtra government’s “mature approach” should not be considered as its weakness.
Pawar’s party is an alliance partner of the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi government, which also comprises the Shiv Sena and the Congress.
“The state government has enough stock of food grains. I have spoken to Food and Civil Supplies Minister Chhagan Bhujbal regarding its distribution to maximum number of people,” the NCP chief said.
There are some people who do not have ration cards, but the government will try to reach out to all the needy people and ensure the supply of food grains, he said.
Owners of sugar mills have also been asked to make arrangements of food and shelter for the labourers, engaged in harvesting the crop, in the mill premises for the next two-three weeks as the workers cannot return home due to the lockdown, the former Union agriculture minister said.
There are nearly 170 sugar mills in the state which employ over one lakh sugarcane cutters who travel from Marathwada to western Maharashtra for work between November and April every year.