Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) outbreak was declared as a pandemic on 11 March 2020 by the World Health Organization. This virus was started in November 2019 from Wuhan City in China and after that, it spread almost 190 countries around the world. All the countries are taking immediate action. India is also taking some strong action. On 24 March 2020, Indian Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi announced 21 days nationwide lockdown which is definitely a bold and strong decision. Till 27 March morning, there were 724 COVID-19 cases (677 Indians and 47 foreign nationals) have been reported in 27 states/union territories. These include 66 who have been cured/discharged, 1 who has migrated and 17 reported deaths. Hospital isolation of all confirmed cases, tracing and home quarantine of the contacts is ongoing.
You can also read List Of Hospitals And Diagnostic Labs In India To Test For COVID-19
WHO Country Office for India has been working closely with the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare on preparedness and response measures for COVID-19, including surveillance and contact tracing, laboratory diagnosis, risk communications, and community engagement, hospital preparedness, infection prevention, and control, and implementation of containment plan. On 26 March 2020, Union finance minister of India Nirmala Sitharaman announced an economic stimulus package worth 1.7 lakh crore rupees ($22.5 billion), designed to help millions of low-income households cope with a 21-day lockdown due to the coronavirus outbreak. The benefits of the economic package will be released through direct cash transfers and food security measures aimed at giving relief to millions of poor hit by the nationwide lockdown in the country.
You can also read about Symptoms Of Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Here are the top updates of Relief Package of Indian Government on Coronavirus:
- Under Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana, 80 crore ration card holders (BPL) will get an additional 5 kg food grain (rice or wheat) per person per month in addition to the existing 5 kg quota for the next three months; 1 kg of pulse per household.
- Farmers, who get Rs. 6,000 annually under PM Kisan Yojana will get the first installment of Rs. 2,000 in addition which will be given immediately in the first week of April through Direct Benefit Transfer Scheme.
- Poor widows, poor pensioners, and poor disabled (almost 3 crore people) will be given ex-gratia Rs. 1000 (to be given in two instalments) over the next three months through Direct Benefit Transfer Scheme.
- Increase in MNREGA wage to Rs. 202 a day from Rs. 182 to benefit 5 crore workers who stand to gain about Rs. 2,000 in all.
- 20 crore women Jan Dhan Yojana account holders will get Rs. 500 per month for the next three months.
- Government of India will pay the Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) contribution, both of employer and employee, put together it will be 24%, this will be for the next 3 months. This is for those establishments which have up to 100 employees and 90% of them earn less Rs. 15,000.
- Workers can withdraw up to 75% from the PF funds (non-refundable advance) or three months of wages (whichever is lower). This will be benefited by 4.8 crores EPFO registered workers.
- A Rs. 50 Lakh insurance covers for healthcare workers – like nurses, paramedics, and sanitation staff – who are in the frontline of the war against the disease, will be provided medical insurance cover of Rs. 50 Lakh per person.
- Ujjwala beneficiaries to get free cooking gas (LPG) cylinders in the next three months; this will benefit 8.3 crore BPL families.
- Collateral-free loan doubled to Rs.20 Lakh to 63 Lakh women self-help groups; to impact 7 crore households.
- District Mineral Fund: State Government will use this fund to augment medical testing and screening and providing health attention.
- Welfare fund of Rs. 31,000 crore for building and construction registered 3.5 crore workers.
There are some more announcements also done by the Finance Minister which are:
- Last date of filing income tax returns extended for FY 2018-19 to June 30, 2020. For delayed payments interest rate has been reduced from 12% to 9%.
- The deadline for PAN – Aadhaar linking also extended from March 31 to June 30, 2020.
- The date for Vivad Se Vishwas Scheme has also been extended till June 30, 2020.
- The government has also extended deadline for filing March, April and May 2020 GST returns to June 30, 2020.
- For the companies with less than Rs. 5 crore turnovers, no interest or late fee or penalty will be charged for late filing of GST return. For bigger companies, the penalty will be charged at a lower rate.