Moscow imposes ‘unprecedented’ shutdown

Indian firefighters spray disinfectants as a preventive measure against the spread of the new coronavirus on a street in Gauhati, India, on Wednesday, March 25. Indian firefighters spray disinfectants as a safety measure in opposition to the unfold of the brand new coronavirus on a avenue in Gauhati, India, on Wednesday, March 25. Anupam Nath/AP

The Indian authorities has introduced a aid package deal value $22.6 billion to help these most affected by the coronavirus pandemic and the nationwide lockdown.

“It’s only been 36 hours since the lockdown was imposed,” the nation’s Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman mentioned at a information convention on Thursday. “Now we have come up with a package which will immediately take care of the welfare concerns of the poor and suffering workers and those who need immediate help.”

The aid package deal consists of medical insurance coverage cowl of $66,400 per individual to these engaged on the frontlines, resembling medical staff, sanitation staff and group well being staff. This measure will cowl round 2 million individuals.

The authorities will present 800 million individuals — almost two-thirds of the nation’s inhabitants — with 5 kilograms of rice or wheat every month for the following three months at no cost. “We do not want anyone to go hungry,” Sitharaman mentioned.

Other measures introduced embody fast-tracking subsidies and advantages for farmers, development staff, widows and the disabled in addition to rising the minimal wage.

The 87 million farmers who presently obtain $80 a yr might be given the primary instalment for the following monetary yr instantly, within the first week of April.

Workers underneath the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) — which ensures 100 days of unskilled handbook work per yr — can have their wages elevated by $26.

Senior residents, widows and the disabled will get a one-time $13 fee over the following three months in two instalments, benefiting 30 million individuals. 

The 200 million feminine Jan Dhan (authorities’s direct advantages switch scheme) account-holders will get a one-time quantity of $6.60 every per thirty days for the following three months.

Women on the Ujjwala (authorities gasoline subsidy scheme) might be given free cylinders for 3 months. This will profit 83 million households dwelling under the poverty line.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi ordered a 21-day nationwide lockdown beginning at midnight Wednesday. Only important companies are operational throughout the nation’s 36 states and territories. These embody water, electrical energy, well being companies, hearth companies, groceries and municipal companies.

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