Top biz headlines: Final tranche of Rs 20-trn package, lockdown 4.0 & more

The government on Sunday provided little immediate relief except increasing allocation to its flagship rural job scheme by 66 per cent, but used the pandemic to usher in bold public sector reforms in its last leg of its announcements on the Rs 20-trillion package. As Lockdown 4.0 starts today, the centre allowed a lot more relaxation to pave the way for increased movement of people and facilitate more economic activity.

FM’s economic vaccine: Final tranche is high on reforms, low on stimulus

State-owned units will remain only in strategic areas, which, however, are yet to be defined, while those in other areas will be privatised, according to public sector enterprise policy, which the government will detail later. Read here.

picks up 1.34% stake in Jio Platforms for Rs 6,598 crore

On Sunday, RIL announced selling 1.34 per cent stake in its digital services subsidiary, Jio Platforms, to private equity (PE) firm for Rs 6,598.38 crore to accelerate consumer business and cut debt. This is the fourth such stake sale within a month, after Facebook, Silver Lake, and Vista Equity Partners. Read here.

Fiscal stimulus 2.0: Why cash support to migrant workers was aborted

The plan for cash relief changed as the ground realities altered rapidly in the past two months. After the end of the first lockdown on April 14, it became clear to the government that the migrant workers, cooped up without jobs, would need a special support programme. The challenge for the finance ministry was, how to reach the workers with the benefit. Read here.

Fiscal stimulus 2.0: States allowed to borrow more, but with conditions

The central government accepted the demand by states to let them borrow more to tackle resource crunch and expenditure commitments during Covid-19 and increased their borrowing limit to 5 per cent of their respective gross state domestic product, from 3 per cent. However, the increase would be linked to strict conditions for specific reforms, for more read here.

Cipla working on multiple therapies to fight spread of coronavirus

Cipla Pharmaceuticals is working on different therapies for coronavirus, including its newly licensed Remdesivir, that has been touted to treat the contagion, and biologic drug Tociluzumab from Roche. The company is also reworking its domestic market sales strategy, and scrutinising its capital and operating expenditure plans. Read here.

Lockdown 4.0: Curbs eased to allow some movement, economic activity

As Lockdown 4.0 starts today, the centre allowed a lot more relaxation to pave the way for increased movement of people and facilitate more economic activity. In fresh guidelines released, the government also accepted the demands of several states and allowed them to demarcate zones. It also allowed sports complexes and stadia to open but without visitors. Read here.

Covid-19 crisis: Industry welcomes investments in health care sector

In the Final tranche, FM Sitharaman announced to increase investment in public health, ramping up infrastructure at grassroot level and getting future-ready for Covid-like public health crises. While the health care sector welcomed the government’s decision, it also highlighted how the industry needs support in view of the headwinds it faced due to Covid-19 pandemic. Read here.

Centre to free up inter-state agri commodity trade without touching APMCs

The Centre will use its powers under the seventh schedule of the Indian Constitution to free up inter- and intra-state trade in agricultural commodities as it allows agricultural price marketing committees (APMCs) to continue. They are aiming to tweak provisions of the Indian Contracts Act of 1872 to bring agreements between farmers and companies under its ambit, aiming to prevent exploitation of farm people. Read here.

Stimulus dent to fiscal deficit at 1-2% of GDP: Experts

The impact of the Atmanirbhar Bharat package on fiscal deficit is unlikely to be over 1-2% of gross domestic products (GDP), say experts. According to them, most expenditure of the Rs 20 trillion was contingent and the measures were largely regulatory, the government’s immediate additional expenditure would be minimal, Economic Times reported.

Lockdown 4.0: Relief for e-commerce firms as deliveries can resume in red zones

The government allowed the delivery of non-essential products in red zones, as part of the new guidelines issued on Sunday for Lockdown 4.0, providing huge relief to e-commerce companies. So far, since the national lockdown started on March 25, the e-commerce firms were only allowed to deliver groceries and other essential items, reported LiveMint.

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