The IMF also said it would revise India's growth forecast next month

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Thursday welcomed the steps taken by the Indian government to facilitate access to Covid-19 vaccinations and to increase the production of essential drugs required in combating the coronavirus disease.

During a fortnightly news conference, IMF’s spokesperson Gerry Rice said, “The IMF welcomes the Indian government's announcement to facilitate access to [Covid-19] vaccinations and to provide additional support to minimise the social costs of the pandemic and to relieve the very human costs of the pandemic. We strongly welcome the government's announcement on that point.”

He also said that the second wave of Covid-19 and the lockdown measures induced by it suggested a fall in India’s economic activity.

Confirming that the IMF would revise India’s growth forecast in its next update to the World Economic Outlook, expected next month, Rice said “More to come next month when we will be publishing updated forecasts for India in the context of the World Economic Outlook.”

“India, of course, is an economy that's important to the global economy, due to its large share in global and regional GDP. And therefore, India's growth and economic outlook has broader implications with spillovers working primarily through trade, linkages and global supply chains which are particularly strong, of course, with South Asia and that region,” he added.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday announced that the Union government is taking over the vaccination process from the states. Modi also said that all beneficiaries above 18 years of age would be immunised free of cost beginning June 21.

According to his announcement, the central government would now procure 75% of all vaccines being made and distribute it to the states for free of cost. Meanwhile, private hospitals in the country would continue to procure the remaining 25% of the stock.

The government has capped the price of each vaccine dose being used in the country and also the service charge by the private hospitals. PM Modi also said that the production of essential medicines to fight the pandemic will also be ramped up.