Nirmala Sitharaman on Economic Package Latest Updates: Government will amend Essential Commodities Act to enable better price realisation for farmers; Agriculture food stuffs including cereals, edible oils, oilseeds, pulses, onions and potato will be deregulated.
The finance minister said that the government will set up a Rs 10,000 crore microfund to help branding and promotion of health foods produced across India.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will announce the third tranche of the mega economic package announced by the prime minister on Tuesday.
The total number of COVID-19 cases in Karnataka surged past 1,000, with 45 people testing positive, the state health department said on Friday. Total number of positive cases in the state stood at 1,032.
The Supreme Court on Friday stayed the Madras High Court order which had asked the Tamil Nadu government to close state-run liquor vends. Following the stay on the high court order by the apex court, the state-owned liquor shops may reopen in the state.
A bench comprising Justices L Nageswara Rao, SK Kaul and BR Gavai stayed the 8 May order of the High Court after taking note of the appeal of government firm Tamil Nadu State Marketing Corporation (TASMAC) which sells alcoholic beverages in the state
Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Friday said the state has written to the Centre urging it to extend the ongoing lockdown by two more weeks from 18 May. The third phase of the coronavirus lockdown is scheduled to end on 17 May.
Addressing a press conference in Guwahati, Sonowal said all states were supposed to give their feedback on the extension of the lockdown by Friday, and the Assam government has already conveyed its stand to the Centre.
As many as 1,061 personnel of Maharashtra Police including 112 police officers have tested positive for COVID-19 so far. Of the total infected police personnel, 174 have been cured while nine have lost their lives, said the Maharashtra Police.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will address a press conference at 4 pm on Friday. The details of the third tranche of the Centre’s economic rescue package of Rs 20 lakh crore will be announced.
The second tranche, announced on Thursday, focussed on migrant workers, street vendors, small traders, the self-employed and small farmers.
The World Bank has approved $1 billion for India as social security technology fund for country’s urban poor and migrant workers. The focus will be to enable India to integrate all of its 400-plus social security schemes at a technology level, the bank said.
Hindustan Times quoted Junaid Ahmad, country director, World Bank, as saying, “The project will be crucial to rebalance social security towards urban poor, as much as rural.”
India registered 81,970 confirmed COVID-19 cases on Friday after 3,995 more tested positive across the nation in the past 24 hours. The COVID-19 toll stood at 2,649 with 100 more patients succumbing to the infectious disease.
Of the total 81,970, there are 51,401 active cases, according to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
Indian navy ship INS Jalashwa will sail again from Maldives capital of Male on Friday to repatriate around 700 residents of Kerala and Lakshadweep under the Samudra setu mission.
The pre-embarkation activities have begun and people are being ferried from different points of Male to the airport where emigration and medical checkup etc. are to be carried out. The ship will depart in the afternoon.
At least two migrant workers were killed, 14 seriously injured in a road accident in Jalaun, Uttar Pradesh on Thursday night, according to media reports. The incident took place when a DCM carrying migrant labourers was hit by a vehicle in Girthan village located in NH-27 of Etah police station area, TV9 reported.
The report also mentioned, that a woman was among the two killed of the total 46 migrant workers in the DCM vehicle. All the injured have been admitted to the Government Medical College Orai.
The Maharashtra government has called for an extension of lockdown in the State till 31 May, and is likely to send a report to this effect to the Centre by Friday.
On Thursday, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray held a meeting with State Cabinet ministers to discuss the COVID-19 situation in the state and the measures needed to be implemented to contain the fast-spreading virus.
According to a senior minister, a consensus was reached on that the lockdown has to be extended in certain parts of the State, especially in red zones such as the Mumbai and Pune metropolitan regions, Malegaon and Solapur.
The Hindu quoted the minister as saying, “It was also agreed upon that the lockdown from now on has to be strictly implemented in red zones, especially in containment areas. At the same time, further relaxations could be given in orange and green zones,” adding that the recommendation will be sent to the Centre on Friday.
Maharashtra on Thursday reported 1,602 fresh COVID-19 cases, the highest single-day spike so far, taking the state’s overall count to 27,524, according to state health department data.
With 44 deaths registered today, the death toll in Maharashtra due to the contagious coronavirus disease has now breached the 1000-mark and stands at 1019.
The number of deaths from COVID-19 disease rose to 2,549 and the number of cases climbed to 78,003 on Thursday, registering an increase of 134 fatalities and 3,722 infections in the last 24 hours since Wednesday 8 am, according to the Union Health Ministry.
The number of active COVID-19 cases stood at 49,219 while 26,234 people have recovered and one patient has migrated, it said.
Meanwhile, Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman addressed the media for the second day in a row, and spelt out more details of the Centre’s Rs 20-lakh-crore special economic package. She said the second tranche of economic stimulus package will be for the benefit of migrant workers, street vendors and small farmers.
FM announces concessional credit for farmers, free food grains for migrants
Sitharaman on Thursday announced a Rs 3.16 lakh crore package comprising free food grains for migrant workers, Rs 2 lakh crore concessional credit to small farmers and working capital loan for street vendors in a bid to help those hit hard by the nationwide lockdown.
Together with the Wednesday’s Rs 5.94 lakh crore package that mostly comprised off-budget credit line and support to small businesses, shadow banks and electricity distribution companies, the government has unveiled over Rs 9 lakh crore plans out of the Rs 20 lakh crore package announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to heal Asia’s third-largest economy that was seen hurtling towards its first full-year contraction in four decades.
Sitharaman said each of the eight crore migrant workers, who had to leave their workplaces after imposition of the lockdown on 25 March, will get 5 kg grains and 1 kg pulses free for two months.
Also, 50 lakh street vendors who were rendered jobless as the government ordered stay-at-home would be given a working capital loan of Rs 10,000 each to restart their businesses.
For farmers, the finance minister announced a Rs 2 lakh crore concessional credit through Kisan Credits Cards, benefiting as many as 2.5 crore farmers.
However, the Congress criticised the economic package as a “jumla” saying it has so far been way short of what Prime Minister Narendra Modi had promised and the entire press conference of the finance minister was classic display of “arrogance, ignorance and insensitivity”.
Senior spokesperson of the party Anand Sharma said the country believed that Modi was serious when he made the “dramatic” announcement of giving 10 percent of the GDP as a package to revive the economy and support workers and migrant labourers and that expectations had soared.
“The finance minister’s announcement dashed all hopes,” he said.
State-wise deaths and cases
India has reported a total 134 deaths deaths since Wednesday morning, of which 54 were in Maharashtra, 29 in Gujarat, 20 in Delhi, 9 in West Bengal, seven in Madhya Pradesh, four in Rajasthan, three in Tamil Nadu, two each in Telangana and Karnataka and one each in Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Jammu and Kashmir and Uttar Pradesh.
Of the 2,549 fatalities, Maharashtra tops the tally with 975 fatalities, Gujarat comes second with 566 deaths, followed by Madhya Pradesh at 232, West Bengal at 207, Rajasthan at 121, Delhi at 106, Uttar Pradesh at 83, Tamil Nadu at 64 and Andhra Pradesh at 47.
The toll reached 34 in Telangana, 33 in Karnataka and 32 in Punjab on Thursday. Haryana and Jammu and Kashmir have reported 11 fatalities each due to the respiratory disease while Bihar has registered seven and Kerala has reported four deaths.
Jharkhand, Chandigarh and Odisha have recorded three COVID-19 fatalities each while Himachal Pradesh and Assam have reported two deaths each. Meghalaya, Uttarakhand and Puducherry have reported one fatality each, according to the ministry data.
According to the ministry’s website, more than 70 percent of the deaths are due to comorbidities.
According to the health ministry data updated in the morning, the highest number of confirmed cases in the country is from Maharashtra at 25,922, followed by Gujarat at 9,267, Tamil Nadu at 9,227, Delhi at 7,998, Rajasthan at 4,328, Madhya Pradesh at 4,173 and Uttar Pradesh at 3,729.
The number of COVID-19 cases has gone up to 2,290 in West Bengal, 2,137 in Andhra Pradesh and 1,924 in Punjab. It has risen to 1,367 in Telangana, 971 in Jammu and Kashmir, 959 in Karnataka, 940 in Bihar and 793 in Haryana.
Kerala has reported 534 coronavirus cases so far, while Odisha has 538 cases. A total of 187 people have been infected with the virus in Chandigarh and 173 in Jharkhand.
Tripura has reported 155 cases, Assam has 80 cases, Uttarakhand has 72, Himachal Pradesh has 66 cases, Chhattisgarh has 59 and Ladakh has registered 43 cases so far.
Thirty-three COVID-19 cases have been reported from the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
Meghalaya and Puducherry have registered 13 cases each while Goa has seven COVID-19 cases.
Manipur has two cases. Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh and Dadra and Nagar Haveli have reported a case each till now.
Doubling time has slowed to 13.9 days, says health minister
The doubling time of novel coronavirus cases has slowed to 13.9 days in the last three days and India now has a capacity of 1,00,000 COVID-19 tests per day with nearly 20 lakh carried out till now, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said.
Vardhan, who visited the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) in Delhi and dedicated a COBAS 6800 testing machine to the nation, said 14 states and Union territories have not reported any case of the novel coronavirus in the last 24 hours.
These states and UTs are Gujarat, Telangana, Jharkhand, Chandigarh, Chhattisgarh, the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Arunachal Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Goa, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Puducherry.
Also, Daman and Diu, Sikkim, Nagaland and Lakshadweep have not reported any cases so far.
Meanwhile, the government has decided to use one time RT-PCR based pooled sampling for COVID-19 screening of migrant workers and returnees from abroad kept in quarantine facilities.
The same testing technique would also be used for monitoring in green zone districts which have reported no cases till now or in the last 21 days, the health ministry said while issuing “Guidelines for RT-PCR based pooled sampling for migrants/returnees from abroad/green zones”.
806 shramik special trains brought into operation till now, says Railways
The Railways has operated 806 shramik special trains since 1 May, ferrying home 10 lakh migrant workers who were stranded in various parts of the country due to the coronavirus-triggered lockdown, officials said on Thursday. Of these, Uttar Pradesh received the maximum number of trains followed by Bihar, they said.
“As on 14 May, 2020, a total of 806 ‘shramik special’ trains have been operationalised from various states across the country. More than 10 lakh passengers have reached their home state.
“Trains are being run by the Railways only after concurrence is given both by the state which is sending the passengers and the state which is receiving them,” the railways said.
Out of the 806 trains which have been operated so far, 166 are in transit while 640 have terminated at various stations. Sixty-three more are in the pipeline, an official said.
These 806 trains were terminated in various states like Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, Mizoram, Odisha, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and West Bengal.
With inputs from PTI
Updated Date: May 15, 2020 17:05:56 IST