STIMULUS 2.0 IN FOCUS TO HELP THE WORST-HIT SECTORS: FM TO MEET PM ON APRIL 16
With India stepping into phase two of the lockdown till May 3 due to the severe outbreak of the coronavirus, various industries and sectors across the nation are operating in fear of the impending collapse of the economy. While the disadvantaged urban and rural sections of the country remain affected by the nationwide lockdown, it is the MSME sector that suffered the maximum blow. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had previously declared a relief package of Rs. 1.7 Crore in the last month on March 25. This relief package primarily focused on helping the poor, daily wagers and the migrant labourers who were left shattered with the 21-day nationwide lockdown that ended on April 14. The package included free ration, cooking gas for 3 months and direct cash transfer measures to shelter the poor families during the lockdown period. Today on April 16, Sitharaman is yet again going to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi to discuss and roll out the stimulus 2.0 packages. Government sources close to the FinMin said that the upcoming stimulus 2.0 could include a relief package of Rs. 15,000 Crore and is more likely to concentrate on uplifting the MSME sector. The sources further added that if the package gets finalised, it will be released with immediate effect. Over the past couple of weeks, Sitharaman had several rounds of discussions with various departments, ministries, business leaders of different industry sectors to learn more about the arising problems that are troubling them. Based on all the feedback received, Sitharaman planned the upcoming stimulus 2.0 relief package. Besides helping the worst-hit MSME sector, the package also includes some aiding measures for sectors like hospitality and tourism, textiles, aviation and exports, precious stones and jewelry. The sources also hinted at the announcement of more relief packages after May 3 to curb the declining economic condition of the country. Impact of COVID-19 outbreak on the Indian economy Four months after the outbreak of the mysterious novel coronavirus came into the global spotlight, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the outbreak a pandemic. Every country including the USA, Italy and Spain which were hard-hit by the pandemic declared nationwide lockdown with immediate effect. India too declared a 21-day lockdown on March 23 as the number of coronavirus cases started jumping rapidly on a daily basis. As per the latest report by the health department, the total number of coronavirus cases across the nation stands at 12,456, including 423 deaths. India’s unemployment rate rose to 7.78 % in February, which is said to be the highest since October 2019, claims data from the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE). Furthermore, India’s GDP (Gross Domestic Product) saw a drastic fall to 4.7% in the third quarter of the current fiscal year. Experts sense a fear of further fall of the GDP in the fourth quarter. As per the economic forecast, lockdown and restrictions on various commercial activities could further have a huge impact on the Indian economy and lead to volatile market conditions. However, with lockdown relaxations from April 20 except the declared hotspots of COVID-19, the country’s economy is said to make a steady rise. Everyone across the nation is hoping and praying that India’s current trajectory towards COVID-19 will flatten in the next couple of days.
Sources: WHO, CDC, ECDC, NHC of the PRC, JHU CSSE, DXY, QQ, and various international media
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|Jammu and Kashmir||9,501||5,695||154|
|Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu||456||205||1|
|Andaman and Nicobar Islands||156||83||0|
* Cases identified on a cruise ship currently in Japanese territorial waters.