Top headlines: FM announces free food grain, jobs for migrant workers

Migrants flout social distancing norms as they gather outside a registration camp to travel back to their native places, during the ongoing Covid-19 nationwide lockdown, in Jalandhar. Photo: PTI
FM announces free food grain, jobs for migrant workers in Round 2 of govt stimulus
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday announced a second set of measures that are part of a Rs 20 trillion fiscal and monetary package announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to support India’s economy, which has been battered by a 51-day lockdown to curb the coronavirus outbreak. "Today's initiatives focus on migrant workers, street vendors, small traders, the self-employed & small farmers," said Sitharaman at a press conference in Delhi. She listed nine steps for these sections of the society. Read more

Covid-19 to have deflationary impact due to demand evaporation: CEA
Ruling out any impact of stimulus on the price situation, Chief Economic Advisor K V Subramanian on Thursday said the Covid-19 pandemic has severely dented the demand for non-essential or discretionary goods, creating deflationary conditions. He also said that a good part of the Rs 20 trillion stimulus package is designed in a manner that the fiscal deficit remains under control. Read more

No regular passenger trains likely to run before June 30: Indian Railways
The Indian Railways has decided not to resume regular passenger services, at least till June 30. However, the ongoing special trains and Shramik specials will continue to run. The national transporter said in a notification on Wednesday that all the regular passenger operations, including mail, express, passenger and suburban services will remain cancelled until further guidelines from the authorities. The notification added that all the tickets booked on these trains till June 30 will remain cancelled and passengers will be provided full refund for them. This comes almost 53 days after the government stopped passenger services on March 22. Read More

Govt releases truncated April WPI inflation data on 'limited transactions'
The government on Thursday released truncated data for April wholesale price-based inflation saying 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 per cent in April, as against inflation of 3.72 per cent in March. The fuel and power basket saw a deflation of 10.12 per cent in April, against 1.76 per cent deflation in the previous month. Read More

UP Governor gives nod to labour law changes; President to take a final call
Uttar Pradesh Governor Anandiben Patel has approved an Ordinance exempting companies from almost all labour laws in the state for a period of three years, a top official said on Thursday. The ball is in the court of the central government now as the Ordinance has been sent to President Ram Nath Kovind whose approval is required for the new law to come into effect. Kovind will seek the opinion of the Union home and labour ministries before taking a decision on the draft Ordinance. Since labour is a concurrent subject under the Constitution of India, states can frame their own laws but need the approval of the Centre for making amendments to central laws. Read More

'Work from home' to be new normal in govt offices; draft guidelines issued
Asserting that central government employees may have to work with staggered attendance and variable working hours, the Personnel Ministry has come out with a draft framework for 'work for home' for the staff post-lockdown. The Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) may provide the option to work from home to the eligible officers/staff for 15 days in a year as a matter of policy, it said. There are 48,34,000 central government employees. Read More

Vijay Mallya loses leave to appeal in UK Supreme Court, faces extradition
Vijay Mallya on Thursday lost his application seeking leave to appeal in the UK Supreme Court, in a setback for the embattled liquor tycoon who last month lost his High Court appeal against an extradition order to India on charges of fraud and money laundering related to unrecovered loans to his now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines. Read more

Fitch highlights India's two big challenges in fight against coronavirus
Despite additional funding, the continued lack of medical investment and healthcare infrastructure will present challenges to mounting an effective response in India against Covid-19 pandemic, Fitch Solutions has said. "The continued lack of medical funding and healthcare infrastructure inform our view for the potential epidemic to be worse in India if it is not adequately contained," Fitch Solutions Country Risk and Industry Research (a unit of Fitch Group) said in its outlook for India's pharmaceutical market, news agency PTI reported. Read More

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