New Delhi: The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Wednesday said the nationwide tally of COVID-19 cases neared 78,000-mark with the further spread of the deadly virus getting detected across Mumbai, Chennai, Ahmedabad and the national capital. Also Read - Rs 3 Lakh Crore Collateral-free Loans Will Boost Liquidity, Empower MSMEs, Says PM Modi
At this time of corona crisis, the Central government announced measures amounting to about Rs 6 lakh crore in easy loans, additional liquidity and other incentives to help businesses recover from losses. Also Read - From MSMEs to Income Tax Returns: Nirmala Sitharaman's Briefing on Rs 20 Lakh cr Package | Highlights
The Health Ministry, on the other hand, stated that the death toll due to coronavirus has crossed 2,500-mark, while the number of COVID-19 patients having recovered has crossed 25,000. Also Read - Great News For MSMEs as FM Announces Rs 3 Lakh Crore Collateral-free Automatic Loan For Businesses
Earlier in the day, PM Modi’s first instalment of the Rs 20 lakh crore economic package came on the 50th day of the coronavirus lockdown, just four days before the end of lockdown on May 17.
However, the decision on the future course of action on the lockdown is expected in the next few days, though PM Modi has said that the ‘fourth’ phase would be different from the third one with new rules and regulations.
Promising a better future for small businesses, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Wednesday unveiled the first part of the special package. She said that no global tenders would be issued for government contracts worth up to Rs 200 crore to promote Indian MSMEs.
Taking the ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan’ to the next level, Union 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 June 1. Notably, these canteens cater to nearly 50 lakh family members of about 10 lakh personnel.
People are expecting that many more steps will be announced soon to promote indigenous products, though FM Sitharaman said being self-reliant does not mean that India would look only inwards and become an isolationist country.
Soon after FM Sitharaman’s announcement, PM Modi said the measures announced by her will enhance liquidity, empower entrepreneurs and strengthen their competitive spirit, and will also address various issues faced by businesses, especially MSMEs.
The significant measures announced by FM Sitharaman earlier in the day include Rs 3 lakh crore collateral-free automatic loan for businesses including MSMEs.
Reacting to the announcements, Congress leader P Chidambaram, however, said 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 during lockdown.
Addressing a press conference, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said nine states and UTs, including Chhattisgarh, Ladakh, Manipur and Meghalaya, have not reported any new case of COVID-19 in the last 24 hours while Daman and Diu, Sikkim, Nagaland and Lakshadweep have not reported any cases so far.
In a late-evening update, the PMO stated that the PMCARES Fund Trust has decided to allocate Rs 3,100 crore for the fight against COVID-19, out of which nearly Rs 2000 crore will be earmarked for purchasing ventilators and Rs 1000 crore for migrant labourers.