Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday announced that about eight crore migrant workers, irrespective of whether they have ration cards, will get free foodgrains for the next two months. The Centre has also planned to introduce an affordable housing scheme for urban poor and migrant workers. Prime Minister Narendra Modi praised the decisions, saying it will benefit the farmers and migrant workers in the country.
The total number of coronavirus cases in India rose to 78,003 with 49,219 active cases, according to the health ministry. The toll is now 2,549. In the last 24 hours, India has recorded 3,722 new infections while the toll increased by 134.
President Ram Nath Kovind will forgo 30% of his salary for a year and drastically reduce spending on travel and ceremonial banquets, to free up more funds for the fight against the coronavirus outbreak.
The Indian Railways cancelled all train tickets booked for travel on or before June 30. All passengers will be fully refunded, the railways said. Meanwhile, the railways will allow waitlisting of passengers from May 22 for journeys not just on the special trains, but also on all its upcoming services.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said his government received over five lakh suggestions from people over the last two days on easing lockdown restrictions after May 17 in the national Capital. The chief minister added that he will meet Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal at 4 pm to discuss the post-lockdown plan.
The Uttar Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation said it will facilitate the travel of Indians who are being repatriated from other countries from the Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi to Noida and Ghaziabad during the lockdown. However, the fares will be as high as Rs 10,000 for a taxi ride from the airport to any destination within a 250 km radius.
Congress leader and former Finance Minister P Chidambaram claimed the Rs 1,000 crore allocated by the Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations Fund, better known as PM Cares, to support states’ welfare measures for migrant workers affected by the nationwide lockdown will not reach them.
Union minister Shripad Y Naik said India is working on four traditional medicine formulations to treat the coronavirus, adding that the trials will start within a week. Naik is the minister of AYUSH or ayurveda, yoga and naturopathy, unani, siddha and homeopathy. It is the country’s indigenous medicine ministry.
United States President Donald Trump criticised the congressional testimony delivered by the nation’s top infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci a day earlier against the dangers of reopening the economy and schools too quickly. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told a Senate committee that premature lifting of the lockdown could lead to additional outbreaks of the coronavirus.
Globally, Covid-19 has infected more than 43.45 lakh people and claimed 2.97 lakh lives, according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker.