The Coronavirus lockdown has been further extended, but the Centre this time introduced several relaxations. The decision came at a time when the country’s total number of COVID-19 cases has climbed over 42,500, but with lakhs of poor people already suffering a lot, it seems the government is now trying hard to find the right balance between lives and livelihoods. The industry has also breathed a sigh of relief, as select industrial activities are allowed now, albeit with riders.
In another positive development, the Union Commerce Minister last week -- through video conferencing -- held discussions with several export associations, and discussed the key challenges facing the sector. Additionally, he also revealed that the Ministry is working on identifying the specific sectors which can be taken forward in the immediate future for exports purpose. The export sector is facing, besides the current challenges, a gloomy prospect, and a roadmap for its future recovery is really imperative.
Also, according to media reports, Prime Minister Modi has held a series of meetings with key ministers to finalise a second economic package targeted at sectors most affected by the lockdown. It is widely expected that the Centre would come up with a focused plan for MSMEs, particularly with a dedicated fund to provide interest free loans and capital support in line with recommendations of the Finance Ministry. The reports add that the fund would be of considerable size to support a large number of entities.