You have had a glimpse in our earlier articles about the Indian Railways fighting at the forefront in the lockdown situation and also how India is ramping up its medical infrastructure in the fight against COVID-19. Similarly, every department is contributing to the fight against COVID-19 in their own way. All these efforts put together are helping to calibrate a united response across India. We now take a look at some of the measures across the ministries in recent days.
A relief for Farmers
Considering the fact that it has become difficult for farmers to reach the bank branches during lockdown, the government has extended the benefit of 2% Interest Subvention to Banks and 3% Prompt Repayment Incentive to all farmers upto 31st May 2020 for all crop loans upto ₹3 lakh given by banks which have become due or are due between 1st March, 2020 and 31st May, 2020.
As far as the farming activities are concerned, the government has already made it clear that they are exempted from the lockdown.
UDAN Ensuring Supply
As part of India’s war against COVID-19, “Lifeline Udan” has been launched to facilitate flights for the movement of medical and essential supplies across the country and beyond. Under this initiative, 62 Lifeline Udan flights have been operated during the five-day period from 26th to 30th March 2020, transporting over 15.4 tons of essential medical supplies. 45 out of the 62 flights have been operated by Air India and Alliance Air.
Easing at Ports
Ministry of Shipping has issued specific guidelines to Major Ports on Exemptions/Remissions on penalties, demurrages charges, fee, rentals levied on any Port user for any delay in Berthing/Loading/Unloading operations or evacuation/arrival of cargo caused due to lockdown. Major Ports have also been allowed to extend the completion of any project under implementation in PPP mode or otherwise. The permit waiver of all penal consequences on case to case basis has also been granted.
Helping Those Who ‘Stranded in India’
The Ministry of Tourism has launched a portal called ‘Stranded in India’ that aims to act as a support network for foreign tourists stuck in various parts of the country. The portal includes COVID-19 helpline numbers or call-centres that the foreign tourists can reach out to for help, and information around state-based/regional tourism support infrastructure.
Thus, from farm to foreign affairs, all the difficulties of lockdown are being addressed in a comprehensive and timely manner.