India Extends Coronavirus Lockdown Until May 3 – Financial Relief Announced
16 April 2020
India is under 2nd lockdown due to coronavirus spread, which has forced to 1.3 billion people to remain in their homes till 3rd May 2020. The first lockdown which was of 21 days ended on 14th April 2020. Although some relaxation may come into force in some districts of states post 20th April, after assessing the situation. Districts in India have been categorized into three zones – Red Zone (more than 15 cases), Orange Zone (0-15 cases) and Green Zone (0 case). Government has issued fresh guidelines for second phase of lockdown.
Meanwhile, government has announced last week that nearly $2 billion would be made available to boost the country’s health infrastructure. Also, Finance Minister announced INR 1.75-lakh-crore scheme to help the economically weaker sections survive the loss of jobs and income that would be the inevitable fallout of the coronavirus outbreak.
According to Export Genius research report, India’s economic growth could take a hit up to half a percentage point in FY21 because of the disruptions caused by the Covid-19 outbreak. There will be a hit of 0.3-0.5% on the GDP in the next fiscal year and growth in the first two quarters of the next fiscal could be as low as 4-4.5%.
Take a look at key points from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speech on 2.0 lockdown:
· The government has decided to extend the nationwide lockdown up to 3rd May 2020.
· Centre closely monitor hotspots & hotspots with no cases get partial relief after 20th April.
· Take special care of elders and stay where ever you are till May 3.
Government has issued fresh guidelines for second phase of lockdown. Read complete MHA guidelines below:
Activities continue to remain prohibited until 3rd May 2020:
· All domestic and international air travel of passengers except for security purposes.
· All passenger movement by trains except for security purposes.
· Busses and metro services for public transport.
· Inter-district & inter-state movement of individuals except for medical reasons.
· All educational, training, coaching institutions, etc. closed.
· All industrial and commercial activities other than those permitted.
· Hospitality services other than those specifically permitted.
· Taxis, auto rickshaws and cycle rickshaws and cab services.
· All cinema halls, malls, shopping complexes, gyms, sports complexes,
· Swimming pools, entertainment parks, theatres, bars, auditoriums, assembly halls, etc.
· All social/political/sports/entertainment/academic cultural/religious functions/other gatherings.
· All religious places/worship places closed for public.
· In case of funerals, more than 20 persons will not be permitted.
However, fruit & vegetable shops or carts, grocery stores, milk booths, poultry, meat and fish shops to remain open even during lockdown.
Activities permitted April 20 onwards
Exemptions given from April 20 will not be applicable in Covid-19 hotspots or containment zones and industries operating in rural areas will be able to operate only after April 30:
· Agricultural, farming, horticultural, procurement of agri products, mandis, etc.
· Aquaculture, fishery and plantation activities.
· All health services including AYUSH.
· Shops of farm machinery, spare parts, supply chain, repairs, Custom Hiring Centres.
· Manufacturing units of pharmaceutical, medical devices, construction of medical infrastructure.
· Reserve Bank of India & RBI-regulated financial markets and entitles.
· Highway dhabas, truck repairing shops, call centres for govt activities.
· Operation of homes for children/disabled/mentally challenged/senior citizens.
· MNREGA works will be allowed with social distancing.
· Public utilities like operations of oil & gas sector, postal services, power generation, etc.
· Manufacturing, industrial units control in SEZs, Export Oriented Units, industrial estates, townships.
Here 10 big announcements by the Finance Minister made in March 2020:
1. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman unveiled a Rs 1.7 lakh-crore fiscal stimulus package to help the poor and migrants tackle the financial difficulties arising from the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
2. FM announced a medical insurance cover of Rs 50 lakh per person for those on the frontline of the fight against the deadly virus.
3. Direct cash transfers for eight categories of beneficiaries, including pensioners, women and the specially-baled was also announced as part of the relief package.
4. Farmers will get the first installment of Rs 2,000 under KIsan Samman Nidhi in the first week of April.
5. The government increased the wages under the MNREGA scheme from the existing Rs 182 to Rs 202.
6. The Finance Minister said women holding bank accounts under the financial inclusion scheme Jan Dhan will get an ex-gratia amount of Rs500 per month for next three months.
7. The government announced the supply of 5 kg of either rice or wheat and 1 kg of lentil of choice free of cost to poor households every month for a period of three months.
8. The government also announced collateral-free loans worth up to Rs 10 lakh for women self-help groups under the Deen Dayal Upadhyaya National Rural Mission scheme.
9. It also doubled the limit applicable to the existing scheme to Rs 20 lakh.
10. The Centre has announced that it will pay EPF contribution on behalf of both the employee and the employer for a period of three months for certain small companies. The government said companies with up to 100 employees in which 90% of the staff is paid less than Rs 15,000 per month will be entitled to receive this benefit. It will also permit withdrawals of up to 75% of non-refundable advance or three months of wages from the EPF account, whichever is lower.