All efforts being made to ensure that nobody sleeps hungry during Delhi lockdown, Arvind Kejriwal said. (Photo Credit: ANI/Twitter)
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday said e-passes will be issued to those associated with essential services, such as vegetable-vendors, grocers and milk-sellers, to ensure smooth supply of items of daily use in the national capital during the coronavirus lockdown. Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday announced a nationwide lockdown of 21 days to check the spread of coronavirus. In a joint press conference with Lt Governor Anil Baijal on Wednesday, Kejriwal said a helpline number would be issued for the e-passes. He appealed to people to avoid panic-buying, assuring that the government would ensure that shops of daily use items like milk, vegetables, groceries and medicines remained open. The chief minister asserted that there was no scarcity of these essentials. He urged people to stay at home during the lockdown period. Baijal said the government would ensure strict implementation of the lockdown in Delhi. The chief minister said the Delhi Police commissioner's office could be contacted on helpline number 011-23469536 in case of any problems. (Coronavirus Outbreak Live Updates)
Pegging the cost of the COVID-19 lockdown at USD 120 billion (approximately Rs 9 lakh crore) or 4 per cent of the GDP, analysts on Wednesday sharply cut their growth estimates and stressed on the need to announce an economic package. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), which is scheduled to announce its first bi-monthly policy review on April 3, is set to deliver a deep rate cuts and it should also be assumed that the fiscal deficit targets will be breached, analysts said. Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a three-week complete lockdown of the country to prevent the spread of the coronavirus infections in the country.
The equity markets were in the red early into the trade on Wednesday, down 0.47 per cent. We estimate that the cumulative shutdown cost around USD120 billion or 4 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP), British brokerage Barclays said in a note, revising down its FY21 growth forecast by 1.7 percentage points to 3.5 per cent. It specified the cost of the three-week nationwide lockdown to be alone at USD 90 billion, which is over and above the lockdowns announced by various states like Maharashtra earlier.
They also said that the RBI is most likely to go for a 0.65 per cent rate cut in the April review and will slash interest rates further by 1 per cent during the course of the year. Domestic brokerage Emkay congratulated policymakers for acting earlier than other countries, but rued that there is not much to cushion the economic impact. The Indian government has so far been largely silent on the economic impact from the lockdown, leave alone any measures to cushion the hit, it said. The unorganised sector, which is already reeling under the twin impact of demonetisation and goods and services tax (GST), will be pushed to the brink because of these measures, Emkay warned. It suggested soft loans to smaller businesses, loan restructuring and cash transfers as the possible tools the government can adopt as part of the economic package.