The Reserve Bank of India on Wednesday extended the period for realisation and repatriation of export proceeds to cushion the impact of an economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic, as business activities across the world have come to a staggering halt amid the global health crisis.

“Presently value of the goods or software exports made by the exporters is required to be realized fully and repatriated to the country within a period of 9 months from the date of exports,” a statement by the central bank said. “In view of the disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, the time period for realization and repatriation of export proceeds for exports made up to or on July 31 has been extended to 15 months from the date of export.”

The decision was made to enable exporters to realise their receipts, especially from countries that have been worst affected by the coronavirus, within the extended period. It will also provide greater flexibility to the exporters to negotiate future export contracts with buyers abroad, the statement added.

The Reserve Bank of India also increased ways and means advances limit by 30% from the existing limit for all states and Union Territories to tide over the situation arising from the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. The revised limits will come into force with effect from April 1, and will be valid till September 30.

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It also announced that it is no longer necessary to activate the countercyclical capital buffer for a period of one year or earlier. The framework on countercyclical capital buffer (CCyB) was put in place by the Reserve Bank in terms of guidelines issued on February 5, 2015, wherein it was advised that the CCyB would be activated as and when the circumstances warranted.

India reported 240 new Covid-19 cases since Tuesday night, with the number rising to 1,637 by 9 am on Wednesday, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said. The toll rose to 38.

United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres called the coronavirus pandemic the worst crisis the world has faced since World War II. The global number of cases rose to 8,59,796 on Wednesday, with over 42,000 patients dead, according to Johns Hopkins University.