India was playing a very important role in helping the world in the global health crisis, Gita Gopinath said

India “really stands out” in terms of its Covid-19 vaccine policy, said International Monetary Fund Chief Economist Gita Gopinath as she hailed the country for playing an important role during the pandemic by manufacturing and shipping the shots to several nations.

“India really stands out in terms of its vaccine policy. If you look at where exactly is the manufacturing hub in the world that would be India, which produces more number of vaccines in a year in the world,” she said speaking during the inaugural Dr Hansa Mehta Lecture.

The lecture, "Women's Economic Empowerment and Inclusive Global Economic Growth: COVID-19 and Beyond",
was organised by the Permanent Mission of India to the United Nations to mark International Women's Day on Monday.

India has provided 56 lakh doses of coronavirus vaccines to a number of countries, including Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Maldives, Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar and Seychelles.

Gopinath also lauded the Pune-based Serum Institute of India, saying it was the largest producer of vaccines in the world and has been manufacturing Covid-19 shots for the COVAX facility.

The COVAX programme, led by the vaccine alliance GAVI and World Health Organisation (WHO), is aimed at ensuring equitable distribution of Covid-19 vaccines globally, especially middle and lower-income nations.

"India has been at the forefront in fighting this pandemic. The country has been playing a very important role in helping the world in the global health crisis through its vaccination policies," she said.

While speaking during the event, Gopinath noted that India was "hit very hard" by the pandemic, and said the economy of the country was recovering with the reopening of activities.

"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," she said.

The IMF has projected 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.

Pointing out that India made up about 7 per cent of world GDP based on purchasing power parity terms, she said, "When you're that large, what happens in India has implications for many other countries in the world, especially countries in the region."