VILLUPURAM l SATURDAY l MAY 23, 2020 l `7.00 l PAGES 12 l CITY EDITION SOME OCI CARDHOLDERS CAN NOW TRAVEL TO INDIA Those eligible to fly in include Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) cardholders who want to attend family emergencies LIFE-LONG VISAS FOR OCIs RESTORED PART OF VANDE BHARAT MISSION The relaxation also applies to minors with OCI cards born to Indian nationals abroad, university students whose parents are Indian citizens living in India and OCI spouses of Indian citizens. The government also restored the multiple-entry life-long visas granted to OCI card holders that were suspended on March 18 on account of the coronavirus pandemic ■ Earlier, while launching the Vande Bharat Mission on May 7, the government had said it was considering travel requests from OCI cardholders, but decided to prioritise the evacuation of Indian nationals. Friday’s decision means OCI cardholders will now be among those who would be evacuated under the mission 34 lakh OCI CARDS HAVE BEEN ISSUED SINCE 2005 CHENNAI ■ MADURAI ■ VIJAYAWADA ■ BENGALURU ■ KOCHI ■ HYDERABAD ■ VISAKHAPATNAM ■ COIMBATORE ■ KOZHIKODE ■ THIRUVANANTHAPURAM ■ BELAGAVI ■ BHUBANESWAR ■ SHIVAMOGGA ■ MANGALURU ■ TIRUPATI ■ TIRUCHY ■ TIRUNELVELI ■ SAMBALPUR ■ HUBBALLI ■ DHARMAPURI ■ KOTTAYAM ■ KANNUR ■ VILLUPURAM ■ KOLLAM ■ WARANGAL ■ TADEPALLIGUDEM ■ NAGAPATTINAM ■ THRISSUR ■ KALABURAGI MGNREGA work demand at 5-year high, shows stress in informal sector P U S H K A R B A N A K A R @ New Delhi THE monthly demand for rural jobs under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) has touched a new high at 3.95 crore until May 20, with analysts saying it will most likely cross 4 crore by the end of the month. This is significantly higher than the month-wise demand this year, which was 2.48 crore in January 2,92 crore in Febru, ary 2.70 crore in March and 1.77 , crore in April, according to the Ministry of Rural Development data. It is also much more than the monthly average demand of 2.3 crore in 2019-20. The spike in May this year is indicative of the huge job losses all around, particularly in the informal sector, where lakhs of workers have suddenly become unemployed owing to the lockdown. HOW THEY COMPARE MNREGA Rural job work States demand in demand in May March Bihar 12,44,491 16,94,494 Chhattisgarh 22,99,126 42,20,136 Andhra Pradesh 42,67,455 66,28,938 Gujarat 2,71,296 9,54,658 Madhya Pradesh 14,77,337 33,71,539 Maharashtra 7,13,164 12,27,708 Uttar Pradesh 17,40,211 49,34,269 Rajasthan 22,06,063 47,32,526 “Obviously the lockdown has had an impact. When industries cease to function, where will the workers go? The high number of people seeking work under the MGNREGA is due to desperation. Most of these workers have gone home and have no work hence they are seeking jobs under the scheme,” said Tajamul Haque, a former Niti-Aayog member. An analysis of the data shows there is a spike in de- @ Kolkata/Bhubaneswar IN his first trip outside Delhi in nearly three months following the nationwide coronavirus lockdown, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday undertook an aerial survey of the areas badly mauled by the recent Amphan cyclone in West Bengal and Odisha, and announced advance interim assistance of `1,000 crore and `500 crore respectively for the two states. While Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and her Odisha counterpart Naveen Patnaik accompanied the PM during the aerial survey in their respective states. With the toll rising to 80 in Bengal, Modi also announced compensation of `2 lakh for next of kin of each of the deceased and `50,000 for the injured in both the affected states. A Central team will visit the ravaged areas shortly to quantify the extent of damage. “I am here to assure everyone in Bengal, in this time of crisis you will find the Central government standing beside you shoulder to shoulder. All aspects relating to rehabilitation and reconstruction will be addressed to rebuild West Bengal. We all want West Bengal to move ahead and the Centre will always stand with Bengal in this testing time,” Modi said. ‘’We have not placed any de- BIG SHOT ICC RELEASES GUIDELINES FOR RESUMPTION OF GAME Prime Minister Narendra Modi (right) and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee doing an aerial survey of the areas affected by the cyclone, on Friday| AFP Assures full support to both the affected states In identical messages to both West Bengal and Odisha, the prime minister assured that the Central government will fully support them in rehabilitation and reconstruction of the damaged infrastructure mand before the prime minister. I showed some photographs of Kolkata after the cyclone hit the city I have told him in detail . about the post-cyclone situation in Bengal. I don’t know what will be the Centre’s package for Bengal. In this hour of crisis, we must work together,’’ Banerjee later informed. In Odisha, Modi lauded the chief minister, the state government and the people for ensuring minimum loss of life by undertaking preparations well in advance. Yet, the cyclone caused large-scale damage to housing, power and infrastructure, besides the agriculture sector in Odisha, he observed and as- sured full support for restoration work. The areas the PM surveyed in West Bengal were Kakdwip, Kultali, Namkhana and Patharpratima of South 24-Parganas district and Minakhan, Haroa, Rajarhat and Basirhat in North 24-Parganas district. In Odisha, he flew over Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara, Bhadrak, Balasore, Jajpur and Mayurbhanj districts. According to the Odisha government’s preliminary estimate, about 44.8 lakh people in 1,500 panchayats under 89 blocks of the coastal districts have been affected by the cyclone. Agriculture has taken a big hit with crops damaged in over 1 lakh hectare while large number of kutcha houses were blown away . EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE THE RBI on Friday confirmed that the current fiscal was no picnic as growth enters a negative territory If this happens, . it’ll be the first time since 1980 when real GDP registered a de-growth. So playing it by the ear, the central bank got its financial ducks in a row reducing key benchmark rates, extending loan moratorium by three months, deferring interest on working capital loans, besides throwing a small but additional credit line to the commercial sector. Moratorium on all term loans, including housing and NEGATIVE GDP GROWTH RBI governor admitted the impact of Covid-19 is more severe than anticipated and GDP growth during 2020-21 is likely to remain in the negative territory Interest can be converted into a term loan for companies big and small, which can be repaid by March 2021. It means, borrowers get more than six months additional time and money as banks will convert accumulated interest on working capital into a funded interest term loan (FITL). “We feel majority of MSMEs have opted for the same and possibly around half of corporates have opted for it. Further, with around 75% of such debt is A and above rated, we expect them to be able to pay the accumulated interest as scheduled or to the FITL,” said Sowmya Kanti Ghosh, Group Chief Economic Adviser, SBI. Meanwhile, repo rate was cut by 40 basis points to 4%, while reverse repo rate was slashed to 3.35%. Repo rate was cut by 115 bps in flat 60 days, which means interest rates will go down further, particularly home loans that will touch new historic levels. Existing borrowers, whose loans are linked to MCLR, however, will have to wait until individual banks’ technical advisory committees take a call on rate reduction, while loans linked to external benchmarks could see a quicker correction. auto loans, has been extended till August 31 allowing borrowers to conserve cash amid employers’ unkind salary cuts and layoffs. Financial advisers, however, suggest timely repayments wherever possible to avoid an insane interest accumulation. SBI Chair man Rajnish Kumar said only 20% of the bank’s borrowers availed moratorium between March and May though more could follow , suit in round two. The big cheese within the Friday fix includes extension of interest on working capital by three months till August 31. For the first time, China opts not to set GDP target EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi Lahore Airport K PA Jinnah Int’l Airport AN ST I AP At least MODEL COLONY KARACHI 14-day isolation camp before tours, cricketers can’t hand over items like sunglasses, sweaters to umpires or teammates; appointing chief medical officers are some of the recommendations made by the governing body I P11 WORKING CAPITAL SHIELD Moratorium on working capital interest extended by three months. All interest accumulated for six-month moratorium period can be converted into a term loan EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE The increasing demand for MGNREGA jobs only seems to confirm what many organizations have projected about unemployment. According to the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy rural unemployment , rose from 8.49% in March to 22.67% on April 29. MGNREGA job applicants have to first generate a job card number by registering with por tals run by state governments. LOAN MORATORIUM WINDOW GETS BIGGER, EMIs SET TO DIP Announces advance interim assistance of `1,000 crore to Bengal and `500 crore to Odisha, offers compensation to all the victims cantly in Uttar Pradesh. The total number of applications in UP was 17.4 lakh in March and 12.7 lakh in April. This jumped to 49.3 lakh until May 20. The corresponding figures for Madhya Pradesh were 14.7 lakh, 11.3 lakh and 33.7 lakh. Surprisingly in Bihar, where also lakhs of migrant workers have returned, has not shown such a sharp rise. It was 12.4 lakh in March, 9.3 lakh in April and 16.9 lakh in May this year. KEY POLICY RATES CUT RBI slashes rate at which it lends money to banks, called repo rate, by 40 bps to 4%; also cuts rate at which banks park money with it — reverse repo — to 3.35% Modi takes stock of massive devastation mand for MGNREGA jobs in May-June when the sowing season for kharif crops is set into motion. But never has it crossed 4 crore, which is most likely this month, in the past five financial years. The previous highest was in June 201617, when the number of rural job seekers was 3.68 crore. The data also shows that states which have seen reverse migration of workers have seen a sharp rise, most signifi- Jet with 98 crashes in Pak 40 killed as Pakistan International Airlines jet with 91 passengers and 7 crew crashes into a residential area in Karachi l captain of Airbus A320 aircraft coming from The Lahore reported a fault with the plane’s landing gear as it approached to land l local Air Traffic Control lost contact with the The aircraft at 2.37 pm. Two minutes later, it crashed l media reported that at least three Local passengers survived the crash l full extent of damage on the ground is not clear. The Officials confirmed at least four bodies have been recovered from the damaged houses | P9 786 new cases bring TN tally Autos set to ply across near 15,000; 4 deaths reported State, except Chennai EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE ORDINANCE OUT TO ACQUIRE VEDA NILAYAM Chennai: In a major step towards converting Veda Nilayam, the residence of former CM J Jayalalitha, into a memorial, Governor Banwarilal Purohit on Friday promulgated an Ordinance enabling the government to take temporary possession of the property and the movable items therein. Meanwhile, with the AIADMK government entering its fifth year of governance on Saturday, CM Edappadi K Palaniswamy and Deputy CM O Pannerselvam said that the government would continue to protect the rights of the State. @ Chennai THE Statewide COVID-19 tally came close to 15,000 with 786 people testing positive on Friday Four deaths were reported . taking the toll to 98. Erode district, which had been declared a green zone, reported a fresh case after 37 days. Among the new cases, 569 are from Chennai and 91 are those who arrived from other States. As many as 66 were from Maharashtra, 13 from Delhi, six from West Bengal, two from Andhra Pradesh and one each from Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and Telangana. One person had come from Philippines. T he State has so far con- firmed 14,753 cases, with 9,364 in Chennai . A media bulletin said two of the deceased were from Chennai and one each from Chengalpattu and Theni districts. All of them had co-morbid conditions. An 81-year-old man from Chennai, who was referred to Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital from a private hospital on May 20, died on Friday. A 51-yearold man, who had been admitted to Stanley Hospital on May 20,died on Thursday A 70-year. old man from Theni district, died at Theni Medical College Hospital on Friday A 72-year. old man from Chengalpattu, died at Chengalpattu Medical College Hospital on Friday . Meanwhile, 846 people were discharged from hospitals. 398 MIGRANT WORKERS UNDER QUARANTINE Madurai: As many as 398 migrant workers reached Madurai Railway Junction from Ahmedabad by Shramik special train on Friday. Their names and details were checked by the district revenue officials. Sources said majority of them were running roadside motels in Gujarat. A few have been working as engineers in private cement factories. They were sent to quarantine centres at their respective districts by TNSTC buses and would be put under quarantine for seven days | BICYCLE DIARIES: P4 EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Chennai BRINGING in a huge relief to auto drivers who have been struggling with no income since the lockdown began, the State government has allowed plying of autos and cycle-rickshaws across the State, except Chennai, from Saturday . Barring areas falling under the Chennai police limits, autos can ply in non-containment areas across the State between 7 am and 7 pm, an official release said. Only one passenger will be allowed to travel. Besides, drivers who live in containment zones are not al- lowed to take out the vehicles. The auto-rickshaws should be disinfected three times a day , and the drivers should keep hand sanitizers in the vehicle for passengers. The driver and the passenger should use face masks during travel, the release said. M Chandran, General Secretary of CITU-affiliated Tamil Nadu Auto Drivers association, said: “It is not viable to run the autos with one passenger, given the high fuel prices. The government should relax norms in Chennai also as many private company employees need our service.” According to official records, around 2.7 lakh auto-rickshaws ply across the State. P4 WITH its economy taking a huge hit from the coronavirus pandemic, China on Friday announced that it will not set a GDP growth target for this year. This is for the first time since 1990 that China is doing away with setting an annual economic growth target. “This is because our country will face some factors that are difficult to predict in its development due to the great uncertainty regarding the Covid-19 pandemic and the world economic and trade environment,” Prem i e r L i Ke qiang said at the start of the country’s annual parliament meeting. Analysts say Friday’s decision may have been taken as China is set to miss a key political goal of doubling its gross domestic product from the 2010 levels, which would be a blow to the ruling party’s pledge to provide prosperity . Before the pandemic, China was widely expected to announce a growth target of about six per cent for the year. However, with Covid-19 causing economic growth to shrink 6.8 per cent in the first quarter, the Chinese leadership felt such a target would no longer be feasible. Premier Li said the country will instead “give priority to stabilising employment and ensuring living standards”. Li also said the governmentswill tighten its belts at all levels, and that all types of surplus funds will be withdrawn and re-allocated, to be put for better use. P9
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