India to offer unemployment benefits to workers affected by coronavirus


The Union government is planning to give unemployment benefits to a section of organised workers who have lost their jobs due to the pandemic.

This will be along the lines of measures taken by some countries such as the United States to combat the impact of the pandemic, also known as COVID-19, on the working population.

The government’s ‘Atal Beema Vyakti Kalyan Yojana’ scheme, which provides unemployment insurance to workers subscribed to the Employees’ State Insurance (ESI) scheme, will cover such workers during the pandemic. The ESI is a self-financing health insurance scheme for formal sector workers in managed by the Employees State Insurance Corporation (ESIC).

Under the scheme, which has been operational since July 2018, workers who become unemployed get compensation in the form of cash up to 3 months of unemployment. But the workers can avail this benefit only once in their lifetime. “The labour and employment ministry is looking to extend the scheme and allow workers to avail the unemployment insurance benefit if they are impacted due to the coronavirus,” a senior government official said, requesting anonymity.

Workers get cash to the tune of

Vegetable prices surge ahead of mandi closure despite surge in arrivals


prices went up further today despite increased arrivals of key produce in the Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) Vashi, as the market decided to remain closed tomorrow in order to facilitate disinfection and protect participants from (Covid-19).

According to Shankarsheth Laxman Pingle, Director, APMC Vashi, total vegetable arrivals in the mandi surged to 830 vehicles, holding about nine tonnes each, and 7,470 tonnes collectively. In comparison, there were 600 vehicles carrying a total of 5,400 tonnes on Tuesday.

Despite the surge in arrivals, prices of key jumped as stockists rushed to store the commodity for uninterrupted supply to retailers and consumers.’

“Arrivals of have increased today on a surge in supply from farmers. While key vegetables have reported a marginal increase in prices, overall market sentiment remained muted on bumper supply,” said Pingle.

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“To avoid gathering of people, after meeting government officials yesterday, we have decided to keep fruits and vegetables section of APMC Vashi closed on Thursday and Sunday until March 31 for social distancing to prevent spread of Covid-19.

Coronavirus may spark global recession; worst since 2001: Morgan Stanley


Global economy is likely to slip into a triggered by the fast-spreading (COVID-19) with growth dipping to 0.9 per cent year-on-year (YoY) in 2020, said analysts at in a recent report. The global recession, they said, will be deeper than seen in 2001.

“Assuming this outlook of Covid-19, we expect 2020 global growth to dip to 0.9 per cent, the lowest since the global financial crisis (GFC). The global this year would be deeper than in 2001. We expect global growth to contract by 0.3 per cent in the first quarter (January – March) of 2020 (Q1-20) and 0.6 per cent in 2Q20,” wrote Chetan Ahya, chief economist and global head of economics at in a co-authored report with Derrick Y Kam, Nora Wassermann and Frank Zhao.

ALSO READ: Coronavirus LIVE: Mumbai public transport to stay open; India cases rise

Though the policy response from global central banks will help limit the downside, the impact of the virus and tighter financial conditions, believes, will still produce significant shock waves in the global economy.

Those at BofA Securities, too, echo a similar view.

Covid-19 pandemic can deal MSMEs a serious blow: CRISIL SME Tracker


Micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in India braced themselves for a fresh bout of trouble as the outbreak (Covid-19) cast a long shadow over a much-anticipated mild recovery in the economy.

The has declared Covid-19 a pandemic, as more than 114 countries have reported cases of the affliction. This has material implications for the global economy.

The number of confirmed cases in India crossed the 100 mark on Sunday. Given the country’s dependence on global trade, short-term hiccups are to be expected, especially in sectors such as auto components, pharmaceuticals, textiles, and gems and jewellery.

Import-dependent sectors such as auto components (where SMEs have a share of 25-30 per cent) and pharma bulk drugs (where the SME share is 35-40 per cent) can withstand headwinds in the near term, given their inventory of one to two months. However, as inventories run down, the pressure will increase.

In export-dependent sectors such as apparel (SME share 25-30 per cent), leather (SME share 80-85 per cent) and ceramic tiles (SME share 50-55 per cent), exporters are hopeful of an increase in orders, including from

CAIT writes to FM, seeks insurance cover for coronavirus-hit businesses


Traders’ body CAIT has appealed to Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to direct regulator IRDAI to mandate insurance firms to introduce coverage for disruptions to businesses on account of the outbreak.

In a letter to Sitharaman, CAIT suggested that insurance companies may be mandated to introduce ‘disruptions due to coronavirus’ as an additional cover to fire and materials damage policies, and the existing policyholders may be offered an option to add the additional cover.

Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) Secretary General Praveen Khandelwal highlighted the need for insurers to come up with need-based policies like cover against mosquito-borne diseases and vector-borne diseases, which can cover hospitalisation expenses due to or fixed benefits upon its diagnosis.

CAIT has also sent a similar representation to Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal to take up the matter with Finance Ministry.

GST on mobile phones hiked to 18% from 12%, some relief on delayed payment


In a move that is likely to make more expensive, Council today proposed a high in the Goods and Services Tax (GST) rates on and allied parts.

Addressing a press conference following the Council meet, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman also brought the manufacture of matches to a common rate of 12 per cent across the board. Earlier, hand-made matches attracted 5 per cent, while machine-made ones attracted 18 per cent.

She also said interest for delayed payment will be charged on net tax liability, not gross tax liability, and would be effective July.

Sitharaman said all decisions taken at today’s GST Council meeting would come into effect on April 1.

Stating that a there were a host of technical glitches in GST administration, the minister said she was engaging with Infosys to implement reforms and had asked the firm to come up with a sustainable solution. She added that Nandan Nilekani had made a presentation to this effect today and that she had asked Infosys to be present for the next three GST council meetings.

Sitharaman also demanded

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