In continuation to PM Modi’s announcement of Rs 20 lakh crore boost to the economy, and the announcement made by her on May 13, 2020, May 14, 2020. May 15, 2020 and May 16, 2020 the Finance Minister of India, Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman has made the announcement of the fifth tranche (which is the last one) of economic support the Indian Economy’s fight against COVID-19. These are the announcements made on May 17, 2020.
The 5th tranche is focussed on Government Reforms and Enablers for providing employment, support to businesses, Ease of Doing Business, and State Governments as well sectors such as Education and Health. Seven measures have been announced under this.
1. Allocation for MGNREGS increased by Rs 40,000 Crore to provide employment boost– Will help generate nearly 300 crore person-days in total.
2. Health Reforms & Initiatives- Public Expenditure on Health will be increased by investing in grass-root health institutions. National Institutional Platform for One health by ICMR will encourage research. And the implementation of National Digital Health Blueprint under the National Digital Health Mission.
3. Technology Driven Education with Equity post-COVID-
PM eVIDYA– A programme for multi-mode access to digital/online education to be launched immediately; consisting of:
- DIKSHA for school education in states/UTs: e-content and QR coded Energized Textbooks for all grades (one nation, one digital platform)
- One earmarked TV channel per class from 1 to 12 (one class, one channel)
- Extensive use of Radio, Community radio and Podcasts
- Special e-content for visually and hearing impaired.
- Top 100 universities will be permitted to automatically start online courses by 30th May, 2020.
Manodarpan– An initiative for psychosocial support of students, teachers and families for mental health and emotional wellbeing to be launched immediately.
National Foundational Literacy and Numeracy Mission for ensuring that every child attains Learning levels and outcomes in grade 5 by 2025 will be launched by December 2020.
4. Further enhancement of Ease of Doing Business through IBC related measures-
Minimum threshold to initiate insolvency proceedings raised to Rs. 1 crore (from Rs. 1 lakh, which largely insulates MSMEs).
Suspension of fresh initiation of insolvency proceedings up to one year, depending upon the pandemic situation.
5. Decriminalisation of Companies Act defaults- The Amendments will de-clog the criminal courts and NCLT. 7 compoundable offences altogether dropped and 5 to be dealt with under alternative framework.
6. Ease of Doing Business for Corporates- Direct listing of securities by Indian public companies in permissible foreign jurisdictions. Power to create additional/ specialized benches for NCLAT. Lower penalties for all defaults for Small Companies, One-person Companies, Producer Companies & Start Ups.
7. Public Sector Enterprise Policy for a New, Self-reliant India- There is a need for a new coherent policy—where all sectors are open to the private sector while public sector enterprises(PSEs) will play an important role in defined areas. Accordingly, the government will announce a new policy whereby,
List of strategic sectors requiring presence of PSEs in public interest will be notified. In strategic sectors, at least one enterprise will remain in the public sector but private sector will also be allowed. In other sectors, PSEs will be privatized (timing to be based on feasibility etc.)
To minimise wasteful administrative costs, number of enterprises in strategic sectors will ordinarily be only one to four; others will be privatised/ merged/ brought under holding companies
The support to State Government from Central Government
- States net borrowing ceiling for 2020-21 is Rs. 6.41 lakh crores, based on 3% of Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP).
- Centre has decided to increase borrowing limits of States from 3% to 5% for 2020-21 only. This will give States extra resources of Rs. 4.28 lakh crores.
- Part of the borrowing will be linked to specific reforms (including recommendations of the Finance Commission). Reform linkage will be in four areas: universalisation of ‘One Nation One Ration card’, Ease of Doing Business, Power distribution and Urban Local Body revenues.
- A specific scheme will be notified by the Department of Expenditure on the following pattern:
- Unconditional increase of 0.50%
- 1% in 4 tranches of 0.25%, with each tranche linked to clearly specified, measurable and feasible reform actions
- Further 0.50% if milestones are achieved in at least three out of four reform areas
NRAI partners with DotPe to build tech platform for online payments and ordering
- National Restaurants Association of India (NRAI) has partnered with DotPe (a fintech start-up) to build its own tech platform that would enable them with online payments for digital ordering, bill settlements, and contactless dining.
- NRAI is the apex body of the Food and Beverage Industry in India.
- This would be in direct take on with existing food-tech aggregators, Zomato and Swiggy.
Ranking & Indices
Indian-origin Hinduja-Reuben Brothers Shares Second Spot in Annual UK Rich List 2020
- The pair of Indian-origin siblings, Reuben and the Hinduja brothers, shares the second spot in the Britain’s annual rich list, with a fortune of 16 billion pounds each.
- ‘The Sunday Times Rich List 2020’ has been topped by British inventor-entrepreneur James Dyson tops with 16.2 billion pounds.
- Srichand and Gopichand Hinduja, the Hinduja Group of companies owner in UK, lost 6 billion pounds to slip to second position from the top slot in 2019.
- Mumbai-born David and Simon Reuben lost 2.66 billion pounds over the past year, but their second position in the tally remains unchanged from 2019.
- The Rich List estimates the 1,000 richest people in the UK, based on identifiable wealth including land, property, other assets such as art, and shares in companies. It does not include the amount contained in people’s bank accounts.
Benjamin Netanyahu Secures Fifth Term as Israeli Prime Minister
- Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has secured a historic fifth straight term to form his government, after a controversial power-sharing deal with rival-turned-partner Benny Gantz.
- On 7 May 2020, President Reuven Rivlin officially granted Netanyahu, two-week mandate to form his government, following which, Netanyahu announced the formation of his coalition government on 17 May 2020.
- Under the three-year coalition deal, Netanyahu will serve as Prime Minister for the coming 18 months, which would keep him in power until November 13, 2021.
- Till then Benny Gantz will serve as the Defence Minister of the country.
- After 18 months, both of them will swap their roles and Netanyahu will become Defence Minister while Gantz will be the new Prime Minister.
International Museum Day: 18 May
- The International Museum Day is celebrated on 18 May to raise awareness about the fact that “Museums are an important means of cultural exchange, enrichment of cultures and development of mutual understanding, cooperation and peace among peoples.”
- Theme of International Museum Day 2020: “Museums for Equality: Diversity and Inclusion”.
- It is coordinated by the International Council of Museums (ICOM).
Australian Rugby League Great, Arthur Summons, Passes Away at 84
- Former Australian rugby league captain, Arthur Summons, has passed away. He was 84.
- The former Kangaroos captain and coach is portrayed on the National Rugby League Trophy (NRL) along with rival captain Norm Provan.
- The NRL trophy was renamed the Provan-Summons Trophy on the 50th anniversary of the match in 2013.
- The trophy is awarded each year to Australia’s rugby league premiers.
Severe Cyclonic Storm ‘Amphan’ Circling over central parts of South Bay of Bengal
- A Severe Cyclonic Storm ‘Amphan’ (pronounced as UM-PUN) has positioned over the central parts of South Bay of Bengal and is likely to intensify further into a Very Severe Cyclonic Storm during next 12 hours.
- As per the information by the India Meteorological Department, on 16 May 2020, a depression over southeast Bay of Bengal (BoB) intensified into cyclonic storm ‘AMPHAN’ over the central parts of south BoB and further intensified into a severe cyclonic storm on 17 May, 2020.
- It is currently lies centred at about 960 km south of Odisha’s Paradip, 1110 km south-southwest of West Bengal’s Digha and 1,230 km south-southwest of Bangladesh’s Khepupara.