Day 2of lockdown witnessed something unusual.
At around 2 p.m. IST, we had a power cut. Thanks to the Delhi weather currently, it was not unbearable. The power backup in our apartment complex is down for maintenance.
Suddenly, my life came to a complete blank.
- No internet so no office work could be done. Google products work best with a working internet connection.
- Had an important deliverable but now that would have to wait for at least a day
- No TV to watch
- I recalled one of my friends telling me once to invest Rs. 1200/- in a modem UPS. I had shugged him away, for no specific reason.
- Cant step outside as its still day 2. So I can’t go to a cafe for free wi-fi and some coffee followed by some work.
Luckily the internet on mobile was still working. So, I browsed through the news quickly. The Finance Minister had by then announced the financial rescue package. Few highlights are below –
- Pradhan Mantri Gareeb Kalyan Ann Yojna (PMGKY) – 5 Kgs of Rice/Wheat to 80 crore individuals and one kg pulse for each household for the next 3 months
- Rs. 50 Lakhs compensation for any doctor, nurse, ward boy or any other person helping in the treatment, if they meet with an accident. This is for a period of 3 months. It also has healthcare coverage.
- Direct transfers of Rs. 2000 in the first week of April to 8.69 crore families under Kisan Samman Nidhi.
- Wages under MNREGA increased by Rs. 2000 as an additional help
- Then there are more disbursement under the Jan Dhan Scheme
- For the middle-income group, rules for EPF withdrawal have been relaxed so that people can withdraw 75% of the value of 3 months of salary – whichever is lower.
The package was silent on many fronts –
- What about the SMEs? Do they get a tax holiday?
- The economy is still crippling so any measures to trigger growth would have been good.
- What about GST? Are we revising the norms of GST?
- Ay stimulus package like direct transfer or tax rebate for individuals.
- Nothing for corporate India.
- No direct cash benefits to the middle-class individuals
These are only some of the many questions that stay open. In all likelihood, Nirmala ji will levy a COVID cess in the next available window.
So the MSMEs and self-employed ones, stay put and brave this weather. You are the ones who trigger the economy and are responsible for a large chunk of employment in the country.
It is important for you to be a survivor in the current times. A tough one though but blows like these build great businesses. So stay put, stay healthy, economic machinery will change completely.
Keep fighting everyday… Because…
Apna time aayega!