Policy Buzz: Coronavirus-focus Second Edition
5 April 2020
Keep up-to-date with all that is happening in welfare policy with this curated selection of news, published every fortnight. The current edition focusses on the Coronavirus pandemic in India, and the government’s efforts to stem its increase.
- The Prime Minister has constituted eleven empowered groups as quick response teams to tackle the ongoing Coronavirus outbreak. These groups have been set up under the Disaster Management Act, and will be headed by secretaries. They will be in charge of medical emergency management, isolation and quarantine facilities, among other things.
- The government has chalked up a cluster containment strategy to contain the spread of Coronavirus within a geographical region.
- Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has announced a package of Rs 1.7 lakh crore to protect healthcare workers and vulnerable sections.
- The Ministry of Finance has released ₹17,287 crore to states as the Union share for the State Disaster Response Mitigation Fund (SDRMF). This includes ₹6,195 crore ‘revenue deficit grant’ as per the 15th Finance Commission’s recommendations.
- Rs 5,125 crore has been transferred to farmers under the PM KIsan SAmman Nidhi scheme since the 1.7 lakh crore package was announced. This is the April-July instalment which has been released earlier than scheduled. Download our latest brief to know about the scheme.
- COVID-19 testing and treatment is now covered under the Ayushman Bharat–Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana health insurance scheme. Download our latest brief to know who can benefit.
- A public charitable trust – Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations Fund (PM CARES Fund) – has been created by the government. Contrary to previous appeals, the Fund will accept donations from foreign private entities and individuals abroad.
- The government has issued an Ordinance as per which the last date for income tax returns for Financial Year 2018-2019 has been extended by three months, to 30 June 2020. The date for linking Aadhar Card – PAN Card has also been extended to 30th June.
- Aarogya Setu has been launched by the Government of India as comprehensive pandemic tracking app, unlike a previous effort – Corona Kavach.
States and Union Territories
- Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Rajasthan and Telangana will be deferring salaries of government employees to augment the public effort against the Coronavirus pandemic.
- Relief packages in various forms have now been announced by Bihar, Delhi, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Tripura, among others.
- Rs. 611 crore of pending wages has been transferred by Uttar Pradesh to 27.5 lakh MGNREGS beneficiaries. The UP government has also promised Rs. 1,000 each to over 16.5 lakh daily wage workers and 20.37 lakh construction workers. Meanwhile, closure of Financial Year 2019-20 will not be extended beyond 31st March.