None of Rs 1,000 crore of PM-CARES funds will go into hands of migrant staff, claims P Chidambaram

Coronavirus Outbreak LATEST Updates: Congress leader P Chidambaram took to Twitter to slam the BJP-led Centre decision to allocate funds to migrants workers, by saying ‘PM-CARES has allocated Rs 1000 crore for migrant workers. Please don’t make the common mistake. But nothing will go to the hands of the migrant workers,’ he said.

Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath on Thursday announced an ex-gratia of Rs 50,000 each to the kin of the deceased in the Muzaffarnagar bus accident that left at least six migrant labourers dead.

“Officers have been directed to send bodies of the workers to Bihar. Saharanpur Divisional Commissioner has been asked to submit report after investigation,” said Uttar Pradesh CMO.

As many as 134 new COVID-19 deaths and 3,722 fresh cases were reported in the past 24 hours across the nation. This takes the total confirmed coronavirus cases in the country to 78,003 with the toll at 2,549 on Thursday.

According to the health ministry, there are 49,219 active cases till now. ​

Eight labourers were killed and around 50 were injured after the truck they were travelling in collided with a bus in Madhya Pradesh’s Guna on Wednesday night, ANI reported.

The injured labourers have been shifted to a district hospital. They were going to their home towns in Uttar Pradesh from Maharashtra.

Six migrant workers were killed and two were injured after being mowed down by a state transport bus while they were walking towards Uttar Pradesh’s Muzaffarnagar late Wednesday night.

The labourers, who were headed home in Bihar on foot, were killed in the Muzaffarnagar-Saharanpur highway after a speeding bus ran over them late last night, near Ghalauli check-post.

A case of negligence will be filed against the driver, Indian Express quoted Anil Kaparvan, SHO Kotwali police station as saying.

The nationwide tally of confirmed COVID-19 cases inched towards 75,000 on Wednesday with several large urban clusters reporting a further spread of the novel coronavirus, while the government unveiled measures amounting to about Rs 6 lakh crore in easy loans, additional liquidity and other incentives to help businesses fight the crisis.

The first installment of the Rs 20-lakh-crore economic package, announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday, came on the 50th day of the coronavirus lockdown and merely four days before the end of its third phase on 17 May.

 Coronavirus Outbreak LIVE Updates: None of Rs 1,000 crore of PM-CARES funds will go into hands of migrant workers, claims P Chidambaram

Representational image. AP

A decision on the future course of action on the lockdown is expected in the next few days, though Modi has said that the ‘fourth’ phase will be an ‘improved’ version of third phase, in which some relaxations were already given.

On Wednesday evening, the Centre also said that the PM-CARES Fund Trust has decided to allocate Rs 3,100 crore for the fight against COVID-19, out of which nearly Rs 2,000 crore will be earmarked for purchasing ventilators and Rs 1,000 crore for migrant labourers.

Another Rs 100 crore will be given to support coronavirus vaccine development, the PMO statement said.

The trust formed on 27 March is headed by the prime minister. The other ex-officio members of the trust are the defence minister, the home minister and the finance minister.

Centre unveils first dose of Rs 20-lakh-crore economic package

On Wednesday, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman unveiled the first part of the economic package, which is aimed at making India ‘self-reliant’ and also promote ‘local’ businesses.

Sitharaman said that no global tenders will be issued for government contracts worth up to Rs 200 crore to promote Indian Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).

Taking forward the new ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan‘ (Self-Reliant India Mission), Home Minister Amit Shah separately announced that all canteens of the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) like the CRPF and the BSF will sell only indigenous products from 1 June.

These canteens cater to nearly 50 lakh family members of about 10 lakh personnel. In a series of tweets in Hindi, Shah said that the decision has been taken after Modi’s appeal for being self-reliant and opting for local products.

There are expectations that many more steps might be announced soon to promote indigenous products, though Sitharaman said being self-reliant does not mean that India would look only inwards and become an “isolationist” country.

Modi said the measures announced by the finance minister will enhance liquidity, empower entrepreneurs and strengthen their competitive spirit, while addressing various issues faced by businesses, especially MSMEs.

The measures included Rs 3 lakh crore collateral-free automatic loan for businesses including MSMEs, which Sitharaman said would benefit 45 lakh small businesses.

Consultancy major KPMG India’s Chairman and CEO Arun Kumar said MSMEs are critical for employment preservation and growth and helping them is the surest way to accelerate job creation. He also welcomed measures for improving liquidity for lenders and businesses, including by helping non-banking finance companies.

Congress leader P Chidambaram, however, said that the Centre’s COVID-19 economic stimulus package had nothing for lakhs of poor and hungry migrant workers who have been walking to their homes.

India’s MSME sector employs nearly 11 crore people and accounts for about 45 percent of the country’s total manufacturing output, 40 percent of exports and almost 30 percent of the GDP. However, the sector has been hit hard by the lockdown, with millions of units staring at the prospect of closure and the threat of job losses.

Lakhs of migrant workers were also left jobless and homeless due to the pandemic, especially after the lockdown came into effect on 25 March.

While special trains and buses have been arranged for them in the recent weeks and continue to operate to help them reach their native places, thousands of them had to walk or even hide in trucks and containers to reach their destinations.

In the past few days, the large scale migrant movement has raised another worry of the virus getting spread further. Also, some cases have come to the light, including in Kerala, of people testing positive after being airlifted from abroad under a massive evacuation scheme of the Centre which is currently underway to bring back Indians and expatriates stranded in different countries.

COVID-19 cases in India cross 75,000-mark, toll rises to 2,415

In its morning update, the Health Ministry said the toll due to COVID-19 has risen to 2,415 and the number of cases has climbed to 74,281, registering an increase of 122 deaths and 3,525 cases since Tuesday morning. This included over 47,000 active cases and more than 24,000 people who have recovered from the infection.

However, a PTI tally of numbers disclosed by states and UTs, as of 6.45 pm, showed at least 75,144 total cases across the country. It also showed nearly 25,000 having recovered so far.

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said that nine states and UTs, including Chhattisgarh, Ladakh, Manipur and Meghalaya, have not reported any new cases of COVID-19 in the last 24 hours while Daman and Diu, Sikkim, Nagaland and Lakshadweep have not reported any cases so far.

Vardhan also said the the doubling time of cases has improved to 12.6 in the last three days, from 11 in the past 14 days. He further observed that the fatality rate is 3.2 percent and the recovery rate is pegged at 32.8 percent.

Kerala, where new cases had stopped coming up till a few days back, saw 10 more people testing positive, including four who have come from abroad.

At the same time, large numbers of new cases continued to come up in Maharashtra, Delhi, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu, among some other states and UTs.

Maharashtra saw the highest single-day jump in cases on Wednesday, with 1,495 new patients testing positive in the last 24 hours. The total number of cases in the state, which is one of the worst hit, crossed 25,000 and toll reached 975.

Mumbai accounts for over 60 percent of all cases in Maharashtra, with around 1500 cases.

Lockdown eased in England, Saudi Arabia announces Eid curfew

The sound of a crisply struck golf ball could be heard in England for the first time in nearly two months as golf courses reopened on Wednesday as part of a modest easing of coronavirus lockdown restrictions that has bred confusion and an increase in the use of public transport, AP reported.

People in England are allowed to exercise more than once a day and with one person from outside their household, provided they remain two meters (around 6.5 feet) apart. Other sporting activities, such as tennis and swimming in lakes and fishing, are allowed too.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia announced a new 24-hour nationwide curfew from 23 May and during the Eid holidays to curb the COVID-19 spread, CNN reported.

In Italy, the number of calls to a government run anti-violence helpline rose by 73 percent during the coronavirus lockdown, the report added.

Updated Date: May 14, 2020 10:52:48 IST

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