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Daily NEWS summary: 18.05.2020

Covid Times: The number of positive coronavirus cases reported in India was 97,868 , with a death toll of 3,092. Globally, 4,833,249 infections have been reported, with 317,218 deaths . India recorded its largest single-day increase Covid-19 cases today. Among the states, Maharashtra represents the largest number of cases, followed by Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and Delhi. One day after extending the national blockade until May 31, the Center said that EU states and territories could not lift the restrictions despite the easing of the directives. However, states appear to benefit more from policy development. Chief Minister of Kerala Pinarayi Vijayan said that the shopping centers could operate at 50% of their capacity on a rotating basis. The state will also allow the navigation of neighborhood buses. Karnataka also said it would allow buses and trains within the state. West Bengal has also authorized the opening of department stores and lounges and has declared that there will be no night curfew, which could go against Center guidelines. On May 18, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal oddly announced the opening of stores in the markets and the operation of buses with only 20 passengers. But he said metro services, schools, universities, cinemas and classrooms will remain closed.

The Indian Meteorological Department said today that Cyclone Amphan, which intensified in an “extremely severe cyclone storm”, could become a super cyclone and hit West Bengal and Bangladesh on Wednesday. “Extremely severe cyclonic storm” Amphan “[pronounced um-pun] over the adjoining central west and central parts of South Bengal, warning for the west coasts of Bengal and north of Odisha.

The Center withdrew its previous order of March 29, 2020, requiring employers to pay full wages to all employees, even during the Covid-19 shutdown period, when industrial and commercial units will remain closed. The new set of guidelines released for Lockdown 4.0 omitted this requirement. Industry agencies had insisted that the decision be withdrawn, given the loss of revenue due to the closure and the absence of public subsidies to overcome the cash crisis. While employers breathed a sigh of relief, unions criticized the decision.

The Uttar Pradesh government accepted the offer of 1,000 buses from Congress Secretary-General Priyanka Gandhi to transport stranded migrant workers back to the state. The government has informed Gandhi’s personal secretary that his proposal has been accepted. The decision came two days after Gandhi wrote to Prime Minister Yogi Adityanath asking him to authorize Congress to drive 500 buses each from the Ghazipur border to Ghaziabad and the Noida border. All costs will be borne by the All India Congressional Committee.

Congress said Monday that the government-announced fiscal stimulus package is “hopelessly inadequate” as it amounts to just Rs. 1.86 lakh crore, which is 0.91% of GDP. Senior congress leader and former finance minister P. Chidambaram said the stimulus package has left several sections, including the poor, migrants, farmers, workers, workers, small merchants and the upper middle class and dry. “In our opinion, a fiscal stimulus of Rs 1.86.650 crore amounting to just 0.91% of GDP will be totally inadequate given the severity of the economic crisis and the dire situation people are in”.

Today, nearly 100 migrant workers have taken to the streets of Ahmedabad, demanding that they be allowed to return to their villages of origin. They responded to the extension of the closure for another two weeks. Workers reportedly threw stones at police personnel and passing vehicles. The police used tear gas to disperse the crowd. The incident occurred on a highway connecting the IIT-Ahmedabad campus to the city’s Vastrapur district.

Sensex fell 1,069 points on Monday after massive sales of bank and auto stocks. The decline appears to have been caused by a lack of confidence, particularly among domestic investors, in the government’s fiscal stimulus package. The 30-share BSE index finished 1,068.75 points, or 3.44% less, at 30,028.98, while the broader NSE Nifty index fell 313.60 points, or 3.43%, to 8,823.25. IndusInd Bank was the main laggard in the Sensex package, with a cracking rate of around 10%, followed by HDFC, Maruti Suzuki, Axis Bank and UltraTech Cement.

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