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Kohima, March 26: As the country entered the second day of lockdown, there is panic already in Nagaland over possibility of shortage of essential commodities.
The State Government has asked the people not to panic over essential commodities but there are reasons why people living in villages are panicking as all movement of vehicles and people are restricted, compounded by non-availability of protective kits in rural areas.
Many villages have erected barricades and blockade on village roads and even people are not allowed to pass the neighbourhoods. Some villages have even prohibited villagers residing outside to come to villages – a sign of mass quarantine. But in doing so there is every chance of essential commodities running out if authorities do not take measures and avoid possibility of social mayhem.
So far the State Government has not announced welfare packages for people living below poverty line, daily wage labourers and earners, casual workers, street vendors, hawkers, patients, old age people, differently abled people etc.
All important routes connecting the State have been almost sealed by police who are assisted by village authorities and civil organizations. Except National Highway-29 all roads connecting Manipur have also been sealed after the report of a person being detected with COVID-19.
International borders along India-Myanmar have also been sealed by Assam Rifles, Village Guards and health officials. Roads connecting international trade centres like Longwa, Pangsha and Avangkhu have been completely sealed.
Additional Director General of Police and Nodal Officer for COVID-19, Renchamo P. Kikon said the four districts along international border – the ingress and egress points – have been sealed.
NGOs, Churches extend help to needy
For now some NGOs and churches have come forward to extend help to needy people during this time of extraordinary situation.
At Zunheboto, Church, NGOs and individuals have contributed some amount to the district administration, so also in Mokokchung. In Tuensang, church and some organizations are working out to extend help to daily wage earners, orphans, destitute, mentally ill persons, aged people without family support, widows and single mothers. Chang Gazetted Officers’ Association has also come forward to extend support.
Meanwhile, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has announced a slew of measures to deal with the economic distress caused due to the coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent lockdown announced to deal with the situation.
She had announced some measures on Tuesday that included extension of tax deadlines, easing minimum balance norms for savings account, and increasing threshold of insolvency filing to Rs one crore from Rs one lakh.
Prime Minister Gareeb Kalyan Scheme will entail Rs 1.7 lakh crore which will include both cash transfer and food security; provide insurance cover worth Rs 50 lakh for sanitation workers, ASHA workers, doctors, nurses, paramedics in case they need it as they are on the frontlines of the corona battle.
Over and above 5 kg of rice/wheat that is already given, another 5 kg per person will be given free to around 80 crore people through PDS. Besides, one kg of preferred and region specific choice of pulse will also be given.
Direct cash transfer through DBT
Farmers: First instalment of Rs 2,000 of PM Kisan will be given in first week of April. 8.69 cr farmers will get immediate benefit out of it.
MNREGA: Increase in wage rate from Rs 182 to Rs 202 amounting to increase of Rs 2000 per worker leading to benefitting 5 crore people.
Old age/widows: An ex-gratia amount of Rs 1,000 for next three months available in two installments. It will benefit 3 crore widows and senior citizens.
Women Jan Dhan account holders: Ex gratia of Rs 500 per month for next three months. This will benefit 20 crore women.
Women Ujjawala sheme beneficiaries: For three months, free cylinders. Will benefit 8.3 crore BPL families.
Women Self Help Groups: Under the Deen Dayal National Livelihood Mission, collateral free loans.
Organized sector: Government of India will pay the EPF contribution both of the employer and the employee put together 24% for next three months. This is for those establishments with up to 100 employees, 90% of them earning less than Rs 15,000.
For organized sector: EPFO regulation will be amended so that workers can draw up to 75% for their contingency expenditure non-refundible advance or three months of wages in advance whichever is less. This will benefit 4.8 cr workers.
Construction worker: State government have been directed to use the welfare fund for building & construction labourers which has around Rs 31,000 crore to help those who are facing economic disruption because of the lockdown.
Utilise the funds available under the district mineral fund for testing activities, medical screening, providing health attention needed to fight the coronavirus pandemic.
The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) lobby group, had sought a stimulus of about 1% of the GDP or Rs 2 lakh crore, has sought a three-month moratorium on all loans and said all repayment obligations should be suspended for this period.
The Prime Minister had announced an Economic Task Force to be chaired by the finance minister.
The 21-day lockdown announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi will affect the revenue stream of companies and hit hard their bottomlines. Various rating agencies have revised downwards their Q4 economic growth projections and alos the growth estimates for next fiscal year FY21. (Page News Service)