Coronavirus update: Finance minister Sitharaman falls back on 'act of god'

 Sitharaman says there may an economic contraction ahead due to ‘extraordinary situation’

By DTE Staff
Published: Thursday 27 August 2020
Nirmala Sitharaman/ Photo: PIB

Union Minister of Finance August 27 referred to the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic as an “act of god” after a meeting of council that decides on rates of goods and services tax (GST).

  • An ‘act of god’ is usually invoked by insurers to refrain from compensating for damages that are considered to be outside human control, like natural disasters.
  • The senior member of the Narendra Modi Cabinet also indicated India’s economy may contract due to the “extraordinary situation”.
  • The government admitted to shortfall of Rs 2.35 lakh crore shortfall in GST collection for the year through March 2021 yet.  
  • States have already been pressuring the Centre to compensate for revenue shortfalls.
  • Several states have reportedly struggled to clear salary dues.
  • The Centre has offered two options of compensatio for the states to deliberate on.
  • Economists have already been warning of COVID-19 lockdown-induced slowdown turning into a recession.
  • The Reserve Bank of India has appointed veteran banker KV Kamath to head a panel to deliberate on loan restructuring and report by September 6. 
  • Tuberculosis patients will now be screened for COVID-19 and vice-versa, according to new central guidelines.
  • Almost 1.5 billion are now out of school UNICEF said. Among 463 million students who can't access remote digital learning, two-thirds are in Africa and Asia. 
  • India added more than 75,000 cases August 26 and recorded more than 1,000 deaths from the outbreak.
  • Despite the most number of fresh cases in the world, the Centre has continued to underscore the number of recoveries.
  • The government claimed close to a million new tests though India’s testing rate continued to linger below 28,000 per million.
  • Brazil’s testing rare, in comparison, was more than double. The United States rate was nearly nine times ahead of India. Those are the only two countries with more cases than India.  
  • The global tally was near 25 million.
  • Union Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba held a video conference with chief secretaries and health secretaries of Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Telangana, Gujarat, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Andhra Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir, along with the Union health secretary, the director-general of the Indian Council of Medical Research and member (health), NITI Aayog. 
  • The states were urged to limit case fatality to 1 per cent across districts.

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