Centre Okays ₹50,000-Cr Equity Infusion For MSMEs

The Union Cabinet on Monday approved the modalities for implementing Rs 50,000 crore equity infusion to support Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), which was announced last month as part of AtmaNirbhar Bharat Package last month to help the sector cope up with the situation created by COVID-19.

It also approved Rs 20,000 crore subordinate debt for stressed MSMEs and a new definition for MSME under which enterprises with investments up to Rs 20 crore and a turnover of less than Rs 250 crore will now be defined as ‘medium’ units.

Briefing the media about the decisions, Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar said that provisions have been made for equity infusion of Rs 50,000 crore to support MSMEs for the first time. It will be done through a Fund of Funds.

“This will help set-up a roadmap for MSMEs in debt-equity ratio management and capacity building,” he said.

The minister said that MSMEs have also been given the opportunity to be enrolled in the stock exchange.

“Various key steps have been taken by the government to boost MSMEs, attract investment, and create jobs in the country. The cabinet has approved a provision to provide Rs 20,000 crore in subordinate debts to help distressed MSMEs,” Javadekar said.

Subordinate debt is a debt owed to an unsecured creditor that in the event of liquidation can only be paid after the claims of secured creditors have been met. Javadekar said that this will help over two lakh stressed MSMEs across the country.

“Today was the first cabinet meeting of the second year of Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government. Historic decisions, which will have positive impacts on the lives of farmers, MSMEs, street vendors were taken in the meeting,” he said.

Javadekar said that the Central government has recognized the importance of MSMEs and the sector has been made an important part of the announcements made under the Aatmanirbhar Bharat.

He said that the government has further revised the definition of MSMEs, under which businesses that have investments up to Rs 1 crore and turnover of less than Rs 5 crore will be classified as ‘micro’ units.

Businesses will be defined as a ‘small’ unit if the investment is Rs 10 crore with a turnover of less than Rs 50 crore whereas enterprises with investments up to Rs 20 crore and a turnover of less than Rs 250 crore will now be defined as ‘medium’ units.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had last month given details about the package for MSMEs after Rs 20 lakh comprehensive package was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. (ANI)

Punjab Farmer With Wheat Crop

Govt Hikes Minimum Support Prices For Kharif Crops

The Union Cabinet on Monday approved an increase in minimum support price (MSP) for the Kharif crops.

Briefing the media here on the Cabinet decisions, Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said that the MSP has been increased for all mandated Kharif crops for marketing season 2020-21.

The Cabinet also approved the extension of repayment date for short term loans for agriculture and allied activities by banks which have become due or shall become due between March 1, 2020, and August 31, 2020.

The decision has been taken in view of the situation created by COVID-19. (ANI)

India’s Covid-19 Count Crosses 1.9L; 230 Dead In 24 Hrs

India has witnessed the highest-ever spike of 8,392 corona cases in the last 24 hours, taking the country’s COVID-19 count to 1,90,535, as per the details shared by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) on Monday.

The country reported 230 more deaths caused by the infection in the last 24 hours. The total number of coronavirus cases in the country now stands at 1,90,535 including 93,322 active cases, 91,819 cured or discharged/migrated, and 5,394 deaths.

During the last 24 hours, 4,835 COVID-19 patients have been cured. Thus, so far, a total of 91,818 patients have been cured of COVID-19. The recovery rate in the country is progressively increasing and has reached 48.19 per cent among COVID-19 patients, which was 38.29 per cent on May 18, 26.59 per cent on May 3, and 11.42 per cent on April 15, said an official statement.

In Maharashtra, the total confirmed cases reached 67,655 on Monday while there are 36,040 active cases in the State. 29,329 people have been cured or discharged while 2,286 patients have died in the State so far.

Tamil Nadu reported 1,162 new cases of COVID-19 today, taking the total number of positive cases in the State to 23,495. 11 people died today, taking the number of deaths in the State due to infection to 184, according to Tamil Nadu’s Health Department.

According to MoHFW, in Delhi, the total number of COVID-19 cases reached 19,844 today. There are 10,893 active cases in the national capital. 8,478 people have been cured or discharged while 473 people have died in the country’s capital.

Gujarat has so far reported 16,779 cases of coronavirus, while there are 5,822 active cases in the State. 9,919 people have been cured or discharged while 1,038 people have died in the state.

Karnataka has reported 187 new cases of COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, taking the total number of positive cases in the State to 3,408 including 2,026 active cases. The toll stands at 52, as per the state’s Health Department.

Rajasthan reported 149 new cases of COVID-19 today, taking the total number of cases to 8,980. The toll stands at 198 after four deaths were reported today, said the state’s Health Department.

Madhya Pradesh has so far reported 8,089 cases of COVID-19, while there are 2,897 active cases in the State. 4,842 people have been cured or discharged, while 350 people died in the State.

Uttar Pradesh, in the last 24 hours, reported 373 new cases of COVID-19. There are 3,083 active cases in the State and 4,891 people have been cured or discharged. The toll stands at 217, said Amit Mohan Prasad, Principal Secretary, Health.

Uttarakhand reported 23 new cases of COVID-19 today, taking the State’s total to 929. Six people have died of the virus in the State so far.

Jharkhand reported 25 more cases of COVID-19 today, taking the total number of cases in the State to 635, said Health Secretary Nitin Madan Kulkarni.

The total number of COVID19 cases in Himachal Pradesh now stands at 338 including 213 active cases, 116 recovered and five deaths, according to Himachal Pradesh Health Department.

Kerala reported one death and 57 cases of COVID-19 today. There are 708 active cases in the State.

Andhra Pradesh has reported 76 new cases of COVID-19 and two deaths in the last 24 hours. The total number of positive cases stands at 3118 and the toll is at 64, according to the State’s COVID-19 Nodal Officer.

Odisha has reported 156 new COVID-19 positive cases in the last 24 hours, taking the total number of cases to 2,104, said the State Health Department.

Assam has reported 23 new cases of COVID-19; taking the total number of cases to 1384. The number of active cases stands at 1192 said, Assam Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma.

Manipur has reported seven new cases of COVID-19, taking the total number of cases to 78 including 67 active cases, according to the State government.

The testing capacity in the country has increased through 472 government and 204 private laboratories. Cumulatively, 38,37,207 samples have been tested so far for COVID-19, whereas 1,00,180 samples were tested on Sunday.


Elections To 18 Rajya Sabha Seats On June 19

The elections to fill the pending 18 Rajya Sabha seats from seven states will be held on June 19, the Election Commission (EC) said on Monday.

Earlier, the elections were scheduled to be held on March 26. But, they were deferred in view of the COVID-19 crisis.

“The Commission has decided that the date of poll and counting of votes in respect of the biennial elections for 18 seats from the states of Andhra Pradesh (four seats), Gujarat (four seats), Jharkhand (two seats), Madhya Pradesh (three seats), Manipur (one seat), Meghalaya (one seat) and Rajasthan (three seats) shall be June 19,” the EC said in a press note.

The counting of votes shall take place at 5 pm on the day of the election. (ANI)

Black Lives Matter Protest

Floyd Protests In US: Historic DC Church In Flames

An over 200-year-old historic St John’s church near White House has been vandalised and set on fire as protests over the death of George Floyd escalated into rioting and multiple fires seen in Washington and other US cities.

“This church has been standing in our city since the early 1800s. Please avoid the area,” the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) of the District of Columbia said on Twitter.

Firefighters quickly extinguished the basement fire, which police said was intentionally set. The MPD said it is currently responding to multiple fires intentionally set in Washington D.C and its suburban neighbourhoods.

Protestors were also seen pulling down a flag from the landmark that opened in the year 1816 and popularly nicknamed the “Church of the Presidents” as beginning with James Madison, every president has been an occasional attendee of services.

In Washington, Fox News cameras were rolling as flames erupted in the newly renovated basement of the St. John’s Church parish house; it was unclear exactly how the fire started or how much damage had been done to the church.

A senior official said more than 50 Secret Service officers have been injured so far Sunday night, with the numbers expected to worsen, as rioters hurled bottles and Molotov cocktails.

There were protests in the area all day, and protesters set several fires on Sunday evening.

According to the Washington Post, in Georgetown and elsewhere in America’s capital city, people spent the afternoon hammering plywood boards outside retail shops and restaurants in the hopes their businesses would escape the attacks that others a day earlier did not. American flags and parked cars and buildings were lit ablaze.

The city is now under curfew, which went into effect at 11 p.m. (local time) and will be active until 6 a.m. on Monday.

The scale of the protests spanned from San Francisco to Boston and unfolding on a single night.

More than two dozen mayors and governors have imposed curfews, a level not seen the unrest following the 1968 assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., The New York Times reported.

In Indianapolis, two people were reported dead in bursts of downtown violence, adding to deaths reported in Detroit and Minneapolis in recent days.

Earlier Sunday, people robbed stores in broad daylight in Philadelphia and Santa Monica, California, and a driver sped a semitrailer toward a massive crowd of people assembled on a highway in Minneapolis — but remarkably, there were no initial reports of anyone hurt aside from that driver.

In neighbouring St. Paul, thousands gathered peacefully in front of the state Capitol, pledging to keep up the protests.

The National Guard’s top general on Sunday said Guard units in nearly half of US states have been mobilized to help major cities deal with the riots. Gen. Joseph Lengyel said some 16,000 additional Guard troops have been deployed to 24 states and the District of Columbia in response to civil disturbances.

Floyd died Monday after a Derek Chauvin, a white Minneapolis police officer, pressed his knee on Floyd’s neck. The officer has been charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter; he and three other officers were fired from the force after a video of Floyd’s death emerged.

Riots erupted from demonstrations in cities from San Francisco to Boston protesting the death of Floyd.

The latest deployment brought the total number of deployed National Guard members to about 62,000 across the country. Other Guard members already had been deployed to assist with their governments’ COVID-19 relief efforts.(ANI)

Unlock1: Centre Issues Guidelines To Exit Lockdown

The Ministry of Home Affairs on Saturday issued national directives for coronavirus management, including compulsory use of face masks and social distancing norms.

The guidelines for the phased re-opening — Unlock 1 — of the nationwide lockdown will come into effect from June 1, 2020, and will be effective till June 30, 2020.

“Face coverings are compulsory in public places, workplaces and during transport. Individuals must maintain a minimum distance of 6 feet in public places. Shops will ensure physical distancing among customers and will not allow more than 5 persons at a time,” read the directives.

While large public gatherings and congregations continue to remain prohibited, the MHA has ordered that not more than 50 people can attend marriage related gatherings and only 20 people will be allowed for funerals.

Additional rules and regulations have been issued for workplaces.

“As far as possible the practice of Work from Home should be followed. Staggering of work/business hours will be followed in offices, workplaces, shops, markets and industrial and commercial establishments. Provision for thermal scanning, hand wash and sanitizer will be made at all entry and exit points and common areas,” read the directives.

The MHA said that frequent sanitisation should be conducted for entire workplace, common facilities and all points which come into human contact, including between shifts.

“All persons in charge of workplaces will ensure adequate distance between workers, adequate gaps between shifts, staggering the lunch breaks of staff, etc,” the directives read.

Continuing with its earlier order, the MHA said that spitting in public places will be punishable with fine and consumption of liquor, paan, gutka, tobacco etc in public places is prohibited. (ANI)

Monsoon To Hit Kerala On June 1, Says Weatherman

The southwest monsoon is likely to hit Kerala on June 1 with “heavy to very heavy rainfall” expected over the state and Lakshadweep from May 30 to June 1, Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) said on Saturday.

“Under the influence of likely formation of low-pressure system over the southeast-eastcentral Arabian Sea, conditions will become favourable from June 1, 2020, for the onset of southwest monsoon over Kerala,” the IMD said in a tweet.

A bulletin issued by IMD said that “heavy to very heavy rainfall” is likely at isolated places parts of south peninsular India with “isolated heavy to very heavy rainfall over Kerala and Lakshadweep” during May 30 to June 1.

An IMD official said that Kerala is likely to witness pre-monsoon showers before arrival of monsoon.

IMD also said in the bulletin that a low-pressure system over the southeast-eastcentral Arabian Sea is likely to form during the next 48 hours.

“A low-pressure area would form over Southeast-eastcentral Arabian Sea during next 48 hrs. To intensify into depression during subsequent 48 hours with possibility of further intensification. To move north-northwestwards towards Gujarat and north Maharashtra coasts till June 3,” the IMD said in tweet.

The bulletin advised fishermen not to venture into southeast and eastcentral Arabian Sea from May 31 to June 4. (ANI)

Delhi To Launch App For Covid-19 Beds In Hospitals

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday said that an app will be launched on Monday which will provide information related to the availability of COVID-19 dedicated beds in hospitals.

Kejriwal said that a few incidents have come to light where people had to suffer due to lack of knowledge.

“On Monday, an app will be launched, which will provide data related to hospitals like how many beds are there in a particular hospital. Out of that, how many beds are unoccupied,” Kejriwal said.

“Those who do not have smartphones can check data on the webpage and information can be obtained from helpline number ‘1031’,” he added.

Referring to alleged fake videos being circulated on social media, Kejriwal said that at this time we have to leave politics behind and work together for the country.” (ANI)

Widespread Protests In US Over Death In Police Custody

Protesters, outraged over the death of George Floyd, ibreached the complex of the Treasury Department here and spray painted the area, a law enforcement source informed CNN on Friday (local time).

Some of the protesters were briefly detained by the US Secret Service but were eventually released.

The agitators also threw some sort of firecracker at the police holding a barricade inside the CNN Center.

Live images on social media from the standoff inside the CNN Center showed several more police officers joining the barricade as protesters continued to throw objects from the Marietta Street entrance.

A video from CNN-affiliate WGCL showed protesters mounting at the CNN signage at the network’s headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia, and raising a Black Lives Matter flag.

The death of Floyd, 46, an African-American man, has sparked outrage across the country. Floyd was detained and subsequently died in police custody in Minneapolis on Monday.

A video recorded by a bystander showed a cop kneeling on Floyd’s neck for at least eight minutes, while Floyd was saying that he could not breathe. Derek Chauvin, a former Minneapolis police officer allegedly involved in the death of Floyd has been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter.

In New York City, hundreds of people protesting peacefully wearing face masks could be seen gathering outside the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, CNN reported.

In Kentucky, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer asked for protestors to be peaceful in his city, following Taylor’s death in March.

Protesters also arrived at Pennsylvania Avenue/Lafayette Park to show their anger against the incident.

The lockdown has been lifted at the White House and the United States Secret Service has reopened entrances and exits to the White House campus for both staff and media.

An attorney for Kellie Chauvin, the wife of ex-Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, has filed for a dissolution of marriage.

Meanwhile, several police officers in Houston and Detroit were also hospitalised after protests over Floyd’s death broke out in the city Friday, according to Houston Police Officer’s Union President Joe Gamaldi. “Our officers who were attacked are in the hospital, patrol cars ruined, businesses damaged,” he said in a tweet.

“This is not who we are as a city and as a community. We will protect your right protest, but we will not allow our city to decay into chaos,” he said further.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner urged citizens to go home in a tweet on Friday night after protests flared in downtown over George Floyd’s death.

“For the safety of everyone, I am asking you to go home,” Turner tweeted after issuing statement to close the city’s downtown area.

The protesters also took over portions of the Las Vegas Strip in Nevada on Friday night. Aerials from CNN affiliate KTNV show a crowd of people peacefully walking down the middle of the street. There was no vehicle traffic.

However, a bail for ex-Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin has been set at USD500,000, according to the criminal complaint filed in the 4th Judicial District Court of Minnesota. According to the document, there have been no conditions set for his release.

Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Christopher Wray sent an email to employees on Friday night saying people’s trust in law enforcement is eroded when officers fail to protect and serve everybody.

“Like most of you, I’ve watched the video images this week that ended in the death of George Floyd while in the custody of Minneapolis police officers. These images are profoundly troubling, to say the very least. And it is difficult to see our communities across the country in such understandable pain,” Wray wrote. (ANI)


Troops Seize 20-Kg IED Meant For Pulwama-Type Attack

By Ankur Sharma

The security forces on Thursday prevented a massive 2019 Pulwama type car bomb attack in Jammu and Kashmir after they stopped a vehicle carrying over 20 kg of an improvised explosive device (IED), enough to carry out a major attack in Pulwama.

Nearly 400 jawans of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) were the target of Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) in the failed terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama on Thursday, suspect senior security officials.

The CRPF convoy of nearly 20 vehicles was supposed to start from Srinagar on Thursday morning and reach Jammu when security forces seized and destroyed an IED-laden car on the convoy’s route in Pulwama.

The plan had similarities with the 2019 Pulwama attack, which left more than 400 CRPF personnel killed as a suicide bomber drove an explosives-laden car into their convoy.

“This convoy was supposed to start from Bakshi Stadium camp at around 7:00 am and was supposed to reach Jammu. The convoy had almost all rank officials and personnel of CRPF which were close to 400. It is suspected that terrorists wanted to target this convoy through a Santro Car seized and destroyed by Jammu and Kashmir police along with CRPF and Indian Army,” a top CRPF official involved in the operation told ANI.

But this time, a couple of days ago, an intelligence input about a possible attack was communicated verbally, keeping in mind the gravity of the information, to all the forces. Jammu and Kashmir Police further developed it.

Finally, during the early hours of Thursday, security forces caught the vehicle full of IED and destroyed it.

“The vehicle was destroyed around 6 am and around 7:30 am Thursday parts of the destroyed vehicle were removed from an area where forces destroyed it. The operation was done in a very coordinated manner,” a senior official claimed.

The police had said the car with a fake registration number was signalled to stop at a checkpoint but vehicle driver who was a terrorist accelerated and tried to escape with the vehicle.

“The security forces opened fire. The driver managed to escape, leaving behind the car laden with IED,” Inspector General of Police Vijay Kumar said.