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New Delhi: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday chaired a meeting with chiefs of public sector banks and assessed their readiness to tackle any possible disruptions due to the Omicron variant.

The Finance Ministry said during the meeting with bank CMDs/MDs, held through virtual mode, the minister also asked lenders to support sectors, besides farm, retail and MSMEs, that face interruption due to COVID.

Sitharaman also reviewed various steps taken by PSBs in implementing pandemic-related measures initiated by the government and RBI.

"During the review meeting, Smt. Sitharaman assessed various steps taken by PSBs in implementing pandemic-related measures initiated by Government of India and Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and readiness to tackle possible future disruptions that may occur due to the ongoing variant of the COVID-19 pandemic," the Ministry said in a statement.

The ongoing third wave of the highly infectious Omicron variant of coronavirus has led to various domestic rating agencies lowering India's growth forecast for the current fiscal.  India Ratings and Research cut its forecast to 9.3 per cent, from 9.4 per cent earlier, while Brickwork Ratings has revised its estimates to 8.5-9 per cent from 10 per cent.

While appreciating the success of ECLGS, the Finance Minister said it is not time yet to rest on our achievements, and that our collective efforts must strive towards supporting sectors that face interruption due to the continued onslaught of the Covid-19 pandemic.        

Sitharaman also conveyed to the bankers to continue supporting the agriculture sector, farmers, retail sector and MSMEs, according to the statement.

Sitharaman noted that business outlook is progressively improving despite the headwinds from global development and Omicron spread.




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