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Chidambaram: Transfer cash in bank accounts of the poor

“Street people and destitutes will fall under this category and after minimal verification, their bank accounts can be opened and then Rs 3,000 can be transferred to such people,” he said.

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P Chidambaram

New Delhi, March 25 : Former Finance Minister and senior Congress leader P. Chidambaram on Wednesday welcomed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s lockdown decision for 21 days in the wake of coronavirus pandemic and suggested 10 measures, including cash transfer in bank accounts of the poor and vulnerable.

In a statement, the former Minister said Modi’s announcement of a nationwide 21-day lockdown is a “watershed moment” in the battle against Covid-19 and that “we should put behind the debates that took place before March 24 and look upon as the beginning of a new battle in which people are foot soldier and the Prime Minister is the commander”.

“Stay home India is a great rally cry, but to stay at home people will need money and food. We must think and plan not only for the next 21 days but for some weeks beyond the lockdown period,” Chidambaram said.

He said the current employment and wages must be protected.

Suggesting 10 measures, he said cash and food should be immediately put in the hands of the poor and the vulnerable.

The Congress leader said, “Double the amount paid to farmers under the PM-KISAN to Rs 12,000 and transfer the additional amount immediately to the bank account of each beneficiary.”

He also urged the government to transfer the amount of Rs 12,000 to the tenant farmers in two installments and also transfer a sum of Rs 3,000 in the bank accounts of the MGNREGA beneficiaries.

Chidambaram also appealed to the government to transfer an amount of Rs 6,000 in the urban poor Jan Dhan bank account holders.

“Offer to every ration card holder 10 kg of rice or wheat absolutely free as a one-time measure in the next 21 days and also arrange for home delivery,” he said.

The government must ask all the registered employers to maintain current levels of employment and wages.

“Guarantee to such employers who do so that the wages of the employees will be reimbursed by the government within 30 days of payment,” Chidambaram said.

The Congress leader also said the government must open a register in every ward or block and invite persons who have not received payment under any of the categories listed to register their names, address and Aaddhar.

“Street people and destitutes will fall under this category and after minimal verification, their bank accounts can be opened and then Rs 3,000 can be transferred to such people,” he said.

He also urged the government to extend the deadlines for payment of any kind of tax until June 30 and in the interim, banks can be instructed to lend to panchayats, municipalities and corporations against the security of the tax receivables.

“Instruct banks to extend the date for any kind of EMI payment until June 30 and cut GST rates by five per cent on all wage goods, essential goods and services and all goods of mass consumption from April 1 to June 30”.

Chidambaram said these demands are currently for one-time cash transfers and the need for more cash transfers can be assessed depending upon the situation.

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Nizamuddin Railway station employee found corona positive

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coronavirus infection

New Delhi, April 8 (IANS) A 59-year-old employee of Indian Railways who is posted at the Nizamuddin station has been tested positive for coronavirus. The man has a few months left for retirement.

According to the Northern Railway, he was undergoing treatment at Central Hospital of Northern Railway, due to which 15 employees including doctors have also been infected in this hospital. This employee came to the hospital on March 31 and thereafter on April 2 due to poor health. Initially, there were no traces of coronavirus in him.

Deepak Kumar, Public Relations Officer of Northern Railway, said: “On April 2, when the man came to be hospitalized, the doctors suggested him to undergo MRI and CT scan tests. On April 6, when his report came, he was found positive for coronavirus. The patient has been sent to Rammanohar Lohia Hospital.”

Meanwhile, all 15 people of the Northern Railway Central Hospital, who came in contact with the corona-affected railway staff, have been kept in isolation. These people include doctors and nurses.

The infected railway staff works as a supervisor at the Nizamuddin railway station, hence, doesn’t come in direct contact with the people.

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Crowds at UP banks as lockdown extension appears possible

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Lucknow, April 8 (IANS) With newspapers and television channels announcing the possibility of the national lockdown being extended, people, on Wednesday, started rushing to the banks that witnessed substantial crowds.

The police in Uttar Pradesh had a tough time ensuring social distancing outside the banks.

The bank staff also tried to persuade the customers to stand at circled spots to ensure social distancing. However, since most banks do not have shades or porches, the customers were obviously uncomfortable standing in the sun.

Most of the customers at nationalized bank branch in Hazratganj area were senior citizens.

One of them said, “I have been standing here for about 40 minutes. There is no bench or chair for us. Moreover, the sun is right above our heads. There is no problem in waiting but some facilities should be made for senior citizens.”

Another customer, meanwhile, admitted that he had come to withdraw money after learning that the lockdown is likely to be extended.

“My pension has not come till now but I am going to withdraw money from my account because everything is being sold at a premium in the lockdown,” he said.

A police inspector, managing crowds outside another bank, said, “We understand their problem but they should also understand the need for social distancing. We are not enjoying this duty but rules have to be followed.”

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Markets open in red on Wednesday

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Sensex equity Nifty

Mumbai, April 8: The 30-scrip Sensitive Index (Sensex) on Wednesday opened on a negative note during the morning session of the trade.

The Sensex of the BSE opened at 29,701.92 points and touched a high of 29,916.22. The Sensex touched a low of 29,602.94 points.

On Tuesday the Sensex closed at 30,067.21 points.

The Sensex is trading at 29,743.07 down by 324.14A points or 1.08 per cent.

On the other hand, the broader 50-scrip Nifty at the National Stock Exchange (NSE) opened at 8,688.90 points after closing at 8,792.20 points.

The Nifty is trading at 8,728.60 points in the morning.

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