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Last updated: 31 Mar, 2020  

Globe.9.Thmb.jpg Battle against COVID-19

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Bikky Khosla | 31 Mar, 2020

The COVID-19 is on rampage; humanity is under lockdown; economies are shattering across the world. The deadly virus is showing no sign of abetting, and India is also facing its scourge. The number of Covid-19 positive cases has already crossed the 1,000 mark in the country; people are fleeing to family, industries are shut down, labourers are leaving cities. The Indian economy is in deep trouble and our government is doing its best to fight the battle against COVID-19.

Last week, the Centre announced a Rs 170,000 crore relief package. No doubt, this package -- which seeks to protect the weaker sections of the society from the ongoing crisis – is a welcome step. Questions are raised that this relief package may fall short of what is required to rescue our poorest groups, but not an iota of doubt, it is a good start. The Finance Minister, while announcing the package, hinted that this might not be the final relief package.

This was soon followed by a number of confidence-boosting measures by our central bank to ensure adequate liquidity flow in the system and support businesses. The RBI cut the repo rate by 75 basis points to 4.40 percent from 5.15 percent. This measure will definitely support liquidity requirements. Additionally, a three month moratorium has been allowed on payment of instalment in respect of all term loans outstanding on March 1, 2020. Also, it announced deferment of interest payment on working capital loans by three months.

These multi-pronged measures to address the ongoing economic downturn resulting from the COVID-19 crisis is welcome. The Finance Minister last week indicated that concerns of the Indian industry, including the Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) sector and other segments hit by the lockdown might be looked at soon. The COVID-19 scourge is a global crisis, it is an enemy against humanity, but we firmly believe that the world will soon win this battle.

I appeal everyone to stay at home and obey the Coronavirus lockdown.
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