On the face of it, Rs 20 lakh crore is a big number. The economic package will be 10 per cent of India’s GDP, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in his address last night. To give you a context of how big it is, look no further than the government’s budget outlay for the Financial Year 2020-21. It proposed to spend Rs 30,42,230 crore — 12.7 per cent higher than the revised estimate of the previous financial year.
However, how big that number really is lies in the fine print. A large part of the Rs 20 lakh-crore package, or as much as Rs 8.04 lakh crore, is additional liquidity injected into the system by the Reserve Bank of India through various measures in February, March and April. Add to this the Rs 1.7 lakh-crore fiscal package announced by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on March 27. The balance of the economic package, details of which are not yet known, then stands at Rs 10.26 lakh crore. P Vaidyanathan Iyer breaks down the math behind it.
* Who will benefit from this economic package? We will get to know in the next few days with Finance Ministe Nirmala Sitharaman expected to announce the allocations. The Prime Minister has, however, given a hint of what to expect. In his own words, the key themes of the package are — “land, labour, liquidity and laws.” Our business bureau analyses what this would translate into.
* Staying on course with the numbers, albeit smaller in size, a study done by the Institute of Mathematical Sciences, Chennai has found that the Covid-19 transmission rate between April 13 and May 10 has remained steady at 1.23, even after some lockdown restrictions were eased earlier in May. So is the virus spread slowing down? Yes, this is a strong indication that it is as the figure means that a Covid-19 patient is only infecting 1.23 other people on an average. Find out what the transmission rate for your state is
* But that is not going to stop an extended lockdown. The only bright spot is that it will be new in form, according to PM Modi. So expect restrictions to be eased at many places as it’s likely that entire districts will no longer be classified under green, orange, red zones but only smaller units. Abantika Ghosh has more details
* The partial resumption of passenger train services is perhaps another reason to be happy. Over 4,000 passengers boarded the first three special ‘Rajdhani trains’ from New Delhi on Tuesday. What many would have missed is how did they reach the railway station with no public or private transport available. A student began to walk from his hostel at 8.30 in the morning to catch a 9 pm train. A woman shelled out Rs 8,000, nearly three times her train ticket fare, to hire a cab from Uttar Pradesh’s Farrukhabad district to reach Delhi. And there were also several migrant workers who tried to find cheap tickets but ended up disappointed.
* A Uttar Pradesh migrant’s auto-rickshaw was hit by a truck while on his way from Mumbai with his wife, two children and a nephew. The family had already covered 1,500 km and were just 200 km away from home when the truck collided with the three-wheeler, killing his wife and six-year-old daughter. Asad Rehman covers this heartbreaking loss
* Meanwhile, a third of Indian households reported not having enough resources to go on for more than a week before facing distress and 84 per cent of them reported decrease in income since the lockdown, according to this nationally representative survey of Indian households conducted by the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) between April 18 and April 30, 2020. Find out how households are coping under coronavirus lockdown.
* Amid the Covid-19 deaths and its damaging impact on world economies, the Chinese army has resorted to aggressive posturing at the Line of Actual Control (LAC). Tensions remain high in this region even a week after Indian and Chinese troops came to blows in a disputed area near Pangong Tso, a lake in eastern Ladakh, and IAF fighters took to the air. Sushant Singh and Man Aman Singh Chinna have the details on what the dispute is all about.
Until tomorrow, Leela Prasad G
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