The chief economist of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Gita Gopinath said, India has been at the forefront in fighting the coronavirus pandemic and “really stands out” in terms of its vaccine policy.
She also hailed the country for playing a very important role in helping the world during the crisis by manufacturing and shipping critical doses of the Covid-19 vaccines to several nations.
In an interactive session during the Inaugural Dr Hansa Mehta Lecture organized on the occasion of International Women’s Day, Gopinath made the comments.
Gopinath said, “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.”
She also praised the Serum Institute of India for its production of 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 India has been providing vaccines through grants to several of its neighbour countries, including Bangladesh, Nepal and Myanmar, and through commercial arrangements as well.
She said the country has been playing a very important role in helping the world in the global health crisis through its vaccination policies.
Gopinath was responding to a question on India, which is a vaccine hub of the world, and the role the country can play in contributing to global economic recovery.
It was pointed out by Gopinath that India makes up about 7 per cent of the world’s 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.
Noting that India was “hit very hard” by this pandemic, Gopinath said the country, which typically grows at over 6 per cent, recorded a growth of negative 8 per cent in 2020.
“So it was very hard hit but you do see the recovery coming back as the country has reopened, activities returning,” she said.
The IMF has projected an impressive 11.5 per cent growth rate for India in 2021, making the country the only major economy of the world to register a double-digit growth this year amidst the coronavirus pandemic.
“Now because of its size, when you have India growing, it increases demand for goods from other parts of the world and that’s a big positive,” she said.
Gopinath gave the keynote address at the Inaugural Dr Hansa Mehta Lecture.
The lecture, named in the memory of the pioneering Indian reformer and educator, was organised virtually by India’s Permanent Mission to the UN and The United Nations Academic Impact.
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, the UDHR.
She is 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.”