Congress Party politician P Chidambaram, who was also India's former finance minister, has hit out at the Indian Finance Ministry for donning the role of the Health Ministry in making predictions about the pandemic curve.
Questioning why the Finance Ministry is making predictions on COVID-19, which should be the job of the Health Ministry, Chidambaram said on Twitter on Monday, "When did the Ministry of Finance take over the Ministry of Health?"
The Indian Ministry of Finance on Sunday said that India may have crossed the COVID-19 peak as the caseload data for the 14-day period from 17 September to 30 September suggests. The Finance Ministry's observations on COVID were part of the monthly economic report for the month of September released on Sunday.
Meanwhile, India's total COVID tally has crossed 6.6 million, according to data from the Indian Ministry of Health. Some 74,442 new cases and 903 deaths have been reported in the last 24 hours.
In the second and third week of September, more than 90,000 daily cases were being reported. Over the last week, however, less than 80,000 cases were reported daily, according to the ministry data.
Meanwhile, there are 934,427 active cases, while 5,586,704 people have been cured/discharged from hospitals since the start of the pandemic.
Chidambaram also attacked the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party's handling of the economy amid the pandemic. "After 'success' in predicting a V-shaped recovery of the economy, the Ministry of Finance is now predicting that COVID 19 is past its peak and on the decline. Will this be an inverted V-shaped decline of the pandemic?!", Chidambaram asked in the tweet posted a short while back.
From April to June of the current financial year (April 2020 - Match 2020), the Indian economy contracted by a whopping 23.9 percent, compared with 3.1 percent growth in January-March and over 5 percent growth in Gross Domestic Product from April to June of 2019.
To bail out the economy and industries from the COVID-related stress, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a $266 billion package on 12 May. India's apex bank, the Reserve Bank of India has also pumped in liquidity worth $125 billion to maintain stability in the Indian financial system.
Despite these efforts, recession fears loom large on the country's economy, with global observers predicting negative growth in the GDP for the entire financial year.
Goldman Sachs, for example, said in its recent estimates that India's economy will witness a 14.8 percent contraction in the current financial year ending March 2021. India Ratings said the economy will see negative growth of 11.80 percent. Nomura, Fitch, and ICRA also downgraded their growth projections for India against earlier estimates.