On day 49 of the Covid-19 lockdown, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a much-needed relief and economic stimulus package of INR 20 Lakh Cr, and laid out the potential path for India to emerge out of the lockdown.
Called the ‘AtmaNirbhar Bharat Abhiyan’, the relief package amount is equivalent to 10% of the gross domestic product (GDP). Modi said that the package aims to help all the sections of society including micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs). He said that the stimulus will encourage businesses reformation while gaining the trust of the investors as well. The plan and details of the economic stimulus fund will be announced by finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on May 13.
Modi said that the relief funds will improve the economic position of India post the lockdowns and will boost Make in India initiative. During his speech, Modi also stressed on encouraging local manufacturing, brands and supply chain to pull India out of the economic slowdown.
Amazon Extends Work From Home
In light of the increasing number of coronavirus cases in India and ahead of PM Modi’s announcement of a ‘Lockdown 4’, ecommerce major Amazon India is allowing all its employees to continue working from home until October 2. Amazon said it will continue to prioritise the health of its employees and follow local government guidance.
On the other hand, Amazon’s rival Flipkart is reportedly returning to its offices in Bengaluru in phases from this week. It is beginning with teams that are currently unable to work optimally from home, owing to limited infrastructure.
Uber’s Courier Delivery Service Is Here
Meanwhile, cab aggregator Uber is now piloting the delivery of packages in four cities — Gurugram, Guwahati, Jaipur and Kolkata. The courier delivery service will help people to send packages just like Dunzo or Swiggy Genie. Uber said that items such as alcohol, recreational drugs, firearms, currency or dangerous and illegal items are prohibited under the service.
While the debate over liquor home delivery of alcohol rages on, the Maharashtra excise department on Tuesday has decided to start an online token system for the sale of liquor in Pune while avoiding crowding at shops. A similar system has been put in place in Delhi, while Chhattisgarh and West Bengal have allowed home delivery of alcohol by online ordering.
Intel Backs Tech Projects, Covid Research
In other news, Intel India has collaborated with a number of organisations and institutions to provide its technology to help the country take on Covid-19. For instance, Intel has partnered with India’s Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and International Institute of Information Technology, Hyderabad (IIIT-H) to leverage Intel’s client and server solutions to enhance Covid-19 testing and genome sequencing of coronavirus.
Intel has also tied-up with industry body NASSCOM for building a platform to enable Covid-19 diagnostics at scale while predicting outbreak and improving healthcare management. The chip giant has also committed INR 5 Cr towards central and state government relief funds while backing a key research initiative and supporting affected communities at the same time.