14:18 GMT23 September 2020
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    New Delhi (Sputnik): India’s economy has dramatically contracted due to COVID-19 and the subsequent nationwide lockdown. Even the central bank has warned that it would take some time to put the economy back on track post-lockdown, and suggested more private spending would facilitate economic recovery.

    India's federal Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan has told state-run energy companies to expedite projects in the oil and gas sector worth $78.5 billion to generate employment and revive economic growth amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

    According to a source in the oil and gas ministry, Pradhan has also asked state-run companies to make capital investments worth $16 billion this year. 

    "The oil minister reviewed the progress of various projects in the oil and gas sector on Monday," the source told Sputnik, adding that the minister mentioned that the projects in the sector will create a cycle of investment and play a very important role in the revival of the Indian economy in the aftermath of the pandemic. 

    Government-run oil companies in India are implementing 8,363 projects like the laying of pipelines, investment in refinery face-lifts and the setting up of exploration infrastructure. 

    This year, by mid-August, the state-run energy firms had made capital expenditure worth $3.54 billion. 

    India's federal government has been encouraging state-run companies to enhance their capital expenditure in order to revive the economy. 

    India's federal Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman too has met the public sector enterprises across all sectors twice and reviewed the capital expenditure made by them to date during the current financial year. 

    In order to help the industry and economy deal with the pandemic, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi rolled out a $266 billion economic stimulus package in May. However, India's GDP in the current financial year is projected to contract by up to 5 percent. Even before the pandemic, the Indian economy had been slowing down: from over 8 percent in 2018, the GDP growth dropped to 3.1 percent in January-March 2020. 


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