Covid Times: The number of positive coronavirus cases reported in India was 81,421, with a death toll of 2,641. In Kerala, the most successful state to treat Covid-19, up to 26 people, including seven foreign returnees tested positive on Thursday. Although the return of new infections for several days has not been reported, the return of large numbers of migrant workers from abroad should present a new challenge. Cases in Tamil Nadu have also continued to increase. Up to 447 people have tested positive today, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 9,664. Meanwhile, in Maharashtra, which is still in the red zone in terms of cases, the government is considering to extend the blockade until May 31.
The World Health Organization said on Wednesday that the new coronavirus “may never go away” and that people will have to learn to live with it. “This virus can become another endemic virus in our communities and will never go away,” said Michael Ryan, emergency manager for the world organization, at a virtual press conference in Geneva.
The government released truncated data for April wholesale price-based inflation, on the grounds that there was limited transaction of products in the market due to the outbreak of COVID-19. As per the data released by the Commerce and Industry Ministry, wholesale price index (WPI) deflation in primary articles was 0.79% in April, as against an inflation of 3.72% in March.
Indian Railways has canceled all train tickets reserved for the trip until June 30 and has stated that a full refund will be issued. However, the railways said the measure would not affect the operation of the Shramik trains or the 15 pairs of “special trains” that started on May 12. In April, the railways announced that early booking, including electronic tickets, would not be allowed “until further notice.” In addition, the railways had disrupted regular passenger train services since March 22. As of May 13, the IRCTC began to take the destination address of all passengers who book tickets. This will help you find contacts, if necessary later, a spokesman for the Railways said. Meanwhile, there was chaos at the Bengaluru station today. Passengers who arrived this morning on the first train from Delhi to Bangalore said they were not informed, at the time of booking, of an institutional quarantine to which they should be subject for 14 days. They only found out after boarding the train in Delhi. Many of them refused to quarantine, stressing that they did not have the financial resources to pay for a hotel room for 14 days.
Employees of the central government will continue to work variable and staggered hours, even after closure. The Ministry of Personnel has presented a draft consultation document on best practices for homework. The Personnel and Training Department (DoPT) can offer eligible civil servants / employees the possibility of working from home for 15 days a year, according to the regulations, according to the newspaper. Ministries and departments must send their suggestions before May 21. “According to the instructions of the Ministry of the Interior, classified information will not be processed through the electronic office. Therefore, classified files will not be processed in the electronic office during work from home, “said one of the directives.
The embattled liquor Baron Vijay Mallya missed a call in the UK today to ask permission to move the Supreme Court there against his extradition to India in the IDBI Bank fraud case. However, he reiterated his offer to the Indian government to reimburse 100% of his loan costs and, in exchange, close the case against him.
Second tranche of relief : Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman today shared details about the second tranche of the Rs. 20 lakh crore ‘Atma Nirbhar’ economic package announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi earlier this week. Sitharman had unveiled the first tranche on Wednesday. The second tranche, the FM said, is targeted at migrant workers, street vendors, small traders, farmers, and the self-employed. Here are its highlights:
- Free food grains to all migrant workers for the next two months. Those without ration cards will get 5 kg of rice/wheat and 1kg of chana per family per month for two months.
- A ‘One Nation One Ration Card’ scheme to be rolled out, under which migrants will be able to obtain rations under the Public Distribution System (PDS) from any fair price shop in the country. The scheme is expected to be fully operational by March 2021.
- For small businesses, a 2% interest subvention on the smallest category of loans given under the MUDRA scheme. As much as Rs..1,500 crore interest subvention would be given for MUDRA-Shishu loans of up to Rs .50,000.
- For street vendors, a Rs 5,000 crore special credit facility under which they can avail of working capital loans of up to Rs .10,000. This is expected to benefit 50 lakh street vendors.
- For farmers, a Rs .30,000-crore additional emergency working capital funding through the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD).
- For those in the middle-income group with an annual income of Rs 6- Rs 18 lakh, a credit-linked subsidy scheme for affordable housing that was operationalised in May 2017 has been extended by a year, up to March 2021.