New Delhi | Jagran Business Desk: At a time when the country is fighting hard against the coronavirus pandemic, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Shaktikanta Das on Saturday said that the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak is the "worst economic and health crisis" that the world is facing in over 100 years.

Speaking at the 7th SBI Banking and Economics Conclave, the RBI Governor said that the coronavirus pandemic has dented world order with unprecedented negative consequences for output, jobs and well being. Das also noted that the coronavirus pandemic is the "biggest test of robustness and resilience of India's economic and financial system".

Das further said that the RBI has taken several measures to protect the country's financial system, adding that policy measures undertaken by the government have worked so far.

"From February 2019 onwards, on cumulative basis, we had cut the Repo rate by 135 basis points till the onset of COVID-19. That was done mainly to tackle the slowdown in growth which was visible at that time and we had elaborately touched upon its in our MPC Resolutions," news agency ANI quoted Das as saying.

Noting that RBI's topmost priority is economic growth, Das said that it has strengthened its offsite surveillance mechanism to identify emerging risks. Building buffers, raising capital crucial for ensuring credit flows and to build resilience in financial system, Das said.

"The MPC has decided, as you would be aware, to cumulatively, cut the Police repo rate by 115 basis points. So from February 2019 the total rate cut that RBI has undertaken is 250 basis points," Das said, as reported by ANI.

Das, however, said that the country needs a structured mechanism with legal backing to deal with stressed assets, adding that Indian companies and industries have responded better to the crisis. He also said that coronavirus pandemic may result in higher non-performing assets (NPAs) and capital erosion of banks

"The lagged impact of these measures was about, to propel a cyclical turnaround in economic activity when COVID-19 brought with it calamities, miseries, endangering of lives and livelihood of people," Das qas quoted as saying by ANI.

The novel coronavirus, which originated in China's Wuhan, has affected over 8 lakh people and claimed more than 22,000 lives in India so far. Meanwhile, the recovery rate in India has improved to 62.78 per cent as 5,15,386 people have been cured and discharged from hospitals.

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma