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Odisha Extends State Lockdown Till April 30th

Professor of Financial Economics and Part-time Value Investor, Transfin.
Apr 9, 2020 3:50 PM 5 min read
Editorial

PM hints at lockdown extension beyond April 14th. Odisha extends state lockdown till April 30th. Retail inflation likely fell to four-month low in March. Supreme Court passes order saying coronavirus testing should be free of cost in Government and private laboratories. 

 

 

 

INDIA IN LOCKDOWN

PM hints at lockdown extension beyond April 14th.

A Long Road Ahead

The 21-day nationwide lockdown was scheduled to end on April 14th. But it could be extended beyond that date.

 

Speaking to Parliament floor leaders via video-conferencing, Prime Minister Narendra Modi reportedly said “several state governments, district administrations, and experts had asked for an extension of the lockdown”. [BS]

 

Odisha extends state lockdown till April 30th. 

Meanwhile, Odisha has become the first state to officially extend the lockdown til April 30th, with educational institutions to be shut till June 17th. [ET Politics and Nation]

 

Government mulling over plan to narrow lockdown to virus hotspots. 

Targeting a Targeted Approach?

An alternative to extending the nationwide lockdown being considered by the Government is engaging in a staggered exit – that is, easing restrictions in some parts of the country while keeping them in place in virus hotspots.

 

More than 80% of confirmed COVID-19 cases in India have been traced to 62 districts representing less than 10% of India’s landmass, according to Government data. These hotspots are concentrated in Maharashtra, Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Telangana and Kerala. [Reuters]

 

INDIAN ECONOMY

Retail inflation likely fell to four-month low in March.

In the Red

Before COVID-19 hit Indian shores, the economy was being dragged down by low consumption and falling demand. Now, two weeks into the world’s largest lockdown, the country’s retail inflation is expected to have dropped to a four-month low in March on the back of low food and fuel prices – and even lower demand.

 

Inflation is likely to have eased to 5.93% last month from 6.58% in February, an April 7th-8th poll of over 40 economists showed. If this number comes true, it would be the lowest since November – but within the RBI’s target band of 2-6%. [Reuters]

 

Petrol, diesel demand falls 66%; aviation turbine fuel consumption collapses 90%. 

Meanwhile

Demand for petrol and diesel is down 66% this month, while aviation turbine fuel (ATF) consumption has reportedly collapsed by 90% as most airlines have stopped flying. Read this report for more details. [BS]

 

 

GOVERNMENT SPENDING

IT Department to release all pending income tax refunds up to ₹5L ($6,604) immediately.

Good News

The Income Tax Department has announced that it will release all pending income tax refunds up to ₹5L ($6,604) immediately to help ease the COVID-19 burden. The move will benefit around 14L taxpayers across India. In addition to this, the Department will also release all GST and custom refunds of around 1L business entities. [India Today]

 

All Government Departments asked to cut spending by as much as 60%.

Spend Wisely

Days after cutting salaries and allowances of MPs and ministers, the Government has asked Departments to cut expenses by as much as 60% from their first-quarter spending plans as the economic consequences of the nationwide lockdown take toll. The sum to be reduced will roughly be from a budget of ₹3.43trn ($45.3bn) of estimated Government spending in the first quarter. [BS]

 

 

TESTING BUSINESS

Supreme Court passes order saying coronavirus testing should be free of cost in Government and private laboratories. 

And Now, This

Yesterday, the Supreme Court passed an interim order to the Centre to make COVID-19 testing free of cost in all Government and private laboratories. It said the question as to whether the private laboratories carrying free of cost tests are entitled to any reimbursement of expenses incurred shall be considered later on. [Moneycontrol]

 

Will private labs be able to manage the expenses?

What do private laboratories have to say about this order? A Velumani, CMD of Thyrocare Technologies, opines “it is very difficult for laboratories...they do not have the cash reserves. I do not think laboratories can stay a month in advance and then wait for quarters to get funds...There should be some workable solutions, otherwise the laboratories would not be able to do the test even if they wish to.” Read the interview in full here. [ET Markets]

 

NEW TECH

 

Oyo puts staff on furloughs across countries. 

Stay Home, Stay Jobless?

Oyo Founder Ritesh Agarwal said that a significant number of his company's workforce across the globe was being placed on temporary leaves for 60-90 days in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. 

 

“At the latest, the revenues of Oyo and the occupancies have dropped by over 50-60%,” Agarwal said and added that because of this, the company's “balance sheet runway” had come under severe stress. [ET Rise]

 

Ecommerce platforms eye grocery and essentials delivery. 

Make Way When Corona Strikes

Within the backdrop of the ongoing pandemic and the nationwide lockdown, online platforms in India such as Zomato, Meesho, Snapdeal, Perpule and NoBroker have all launched delivery of essential grocery products on their platforms, in a bid to keep operations running and tap into rising consumer demand. [ET Tech]

 

Moreover, ecommerce, in general is now limping back to life after the initial confusion following the announcement of the 21-day nationwide lockdown. Read about how the Government has now warmed to ecommerce playersafter the initial pushback. [CNA]

 

Disney Plus crosses 50m subscribers

All Eyes on Me

Disney Plus has signed up 50m paid subscribers worldwide, announced the media company.

 

The announcement comes around two months after it reported 28.6m paid subscribers as of February 3th. [The Verge]

FIN.

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