Govt working on financial package for all sectors amid Covid outbreak

Launching its biggest-ever repatriation exercise, India on Thursday airlifted 363 of its citizens, including nine infants, stranded in the United Arab Emirates due to the international travel lockdown over the Covid-19 pandemic. Photo: @hardeepspuri
The government is working on a comprehensive financial package not only for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) but for all sectors of the economy, a top official said on Thursday.

“The Union government, Prime Minister’s Office, and the Department of Economic Affairs are already working on a package, which includes not only the MSME but also the entire industry. All sectors of the economy being taken care of by a comprehensive package, being worked out in the government,” said Giridhar Aramane, secretary in the ministry of road transport and highways. He was speaking during an interaction with members of SIAM Institute via videoconferencing.

Participating in the same meeting, Union Minister for MSME and Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari said “a package is going to be declared”.  The minister noted that the pendency of dues owed to MSME units by the Centre and states, public sector undertakings, and major industries was “very high”. “My request to all of you, as members of major industries, if it is possible for you to at any cost release the payment within a month. Don’t take more time than that otherwise the situation is very bad,” he said.

“But still if anywhere you have a problem, please be positive about this sector, because this is really on the verge of collapse,” Gadkari said.

Workers carry out repair work of a road after authorities eased restrictions, in Nagaon district on Thursday. Photo: PTI
He said the ministry had firmed up plans to execute Rs 15 trillion worth of highway projects in the next two years. It is learnt that this Rs 15 trillion worth of projects are part of the National Infrastructure Pipeline, announced by the Finance Minister  in December.  Gadkari said he had asked the officials to finalise the auto scrapping policy quickly.

India’s cases near 53,000

India has registered 3,561 cases and 89 deaths in a single day, taking the total confirmed cases to almost 53,000 as of Thursday, according to the health ministry data.

India has so far conducted 1,357,413 tests, the Indian Council of Medical Research data said.  According to the COV-IND-19 Study Group, to get to 1 per cent of the population tested, India needs to be at 13.5 million tests. It said while India seems to have done relatively well in controlling the number of cases  in the early phase, there is a critical missing or unknown component in this assessment.

“The number of truly affected cases,” which depends on the extent of testing, the accuracy of the test results and, in particular, the frequency and scale of testing of asymptomatic cases who may have been exposed,” the study said.

With PTI inputs

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