Coronavirus updates: 17 deaths, RBI permits 3-month moratorium, migrant workers’ struggle continues

RBI allows all non-banking financial corporations and commercial banks to allow a three-month moratorium on payment of installments of all term loans

ByNL Team
Coronavirus updates: 17 deaths, RBI permits 3-month moratorium, migrant workers’ struggle continues
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The number of COVID-19 deaths in India has shot up to 17, the health ministry confirmed on Friday. Currently, there are 724 confirmed cases in the nation, of which 640 are active.

Army all set for the battle against coronavirus

The Indian army is carrying on with its operational tasks since the coronavirus pandemic seems to have no direct impact on its operational preparedness, the army chief general M M Naravane told the Indian Express. As of now, contingency plans are there in place at six hours’ notice.

This includes activated Quick Reaction Medical Teams, a 45-bed isolation facility, and a 10-bed ICU for COVID-19 at the army’s field hospitals, Naravane said. He admitted it’s “difficult to say how the situation will develop”. After analysing the impact of COVID-19 over the last two or three months in other countries, he added, the army had begun its action plan.

Migrant workers continue to suffer

The pandemic has hit workers in the unorganised sector the hardest. Over the last couple of days, many migrant workers who were stuck in cities due to the ban on public transport and trains, have undertaken their journey home on foot. In the meantime, multiple videos have surfaced online showing authorises treating them with shocking harshness.

During a routine inspection in Maharashtra’s Yavatmal yesterday, the police found 300 migrant workers huddled inside two trucks that were supposed to be carrying essential commodities from Telangana to Rajasthan.

According to the Indian Express, Yavatmal’s police superintendent said, “The men are primarily construction workers returning from Hyderabad to different parts of Rajasthan.”

While the truck driver has been penalised, the police are pondering over a decision on the future course of action for the workers. “They need to go home for survival,” one of the officials told PTI.

Yesterday, the Centre asked all states to make sure food and shelter is made available for the thousands of stranded migrant workers. This was after the chief ministers of West Bengal and Odisha appealed to the rest of the country to assist workers from the two states.

Indian Express' front page photograph today. (via Reuters)

Indian Express' front page photograph today. (via Reuters)

RBI cuts interest rate, allows three-month moratorium on loan installments

The Reserve Bank of India has cut down the repo rate, or the interest rate at which the top bank lends to commercial banks, by 75 basis points to 4.4 per cent. RBI governor Shaktikanta Das said reverse repo rate was also cut by 90 basis points to four per cent. All commercial banks and non-banking financial corporations will now be able to allow a three-month moratorium on installments of all term loans, said the governor.

The RBI has also reduced the Cash Reserve Ratio of all banks by 100 basis points. “This would release liquidity worth Rs 1,37,000 crore within banks,” said Das.

To know more about the Rs 1.7 lakh crore relief package announced by the Finance Minister yesterday, read this piece.

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