Thursday, May 14, 2020

MP requests MoHFW to resume ANISHI Scheme for Islanders


Port Blair, May 14: Shri Kuldeep Rai Sharma, Member of Parliament, A&N Islands has taken up the matter with the Hon’ble Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare, Govt. of India, New Delhi regarding continuation of ANISHI scheme upto 31st December, 2020 for cashless treatment upto Rs.5 lakhs for the Islanders.
Mr. Sharma has stated that in Andaman & Nicobar Islands, only one Government Hospital namely GB Pant Hospital is available for treatment of general diseases and in case of serious diseases such as Cancer, Cardiac, Neuro, Brain Tumour, Accidentals cases etc, such patients are referring to Super Specialty Hospitals at Chennai and Kolkata under a scheme introduced by the A&N Administration namely “Andaman & Nicobar Islands Scheme for Health Insurance (ANISHI) for cashless treatment upto Rs.5 lakhs (Five lakhs) per patient since 2015. Now the aforesaid scheme of ANISHI has been closed with effect from 31st March, 2020 on introduction of Ayushman Bharat Scheme.
In this regard he further informed that many hospitals earmarked for treatment under Ayushman Bharat Scheme at Chennai and Kolkata have already been pre-occupied for the treatment of COVID-19 pandemic, hence it would be difficult for our Islanders to get treatment in the hospitals under Ayushman Bharat scheme for emergency serious medical treatment other than in the Super Specialty Hospitals which were empanelled under ANISHI scheme upto 31.03.2020.
Therefore, in order to safeguard the health care of the Islanders, he requested the Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare to consider for continuation of operation of Andaman & Nicobar Islands Scheme for Health Insurance (ANISHI) for the Islanders till 31st December, 2020 for getting treatment at empanelled Hospitals at Chennai and Kolkata under ANISHI scheme.

Finance Minister announces major stimulus package for MSMEs


New Delhi, May 13: Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Wednesday announced Rs.3 lakh crore collateral free loan scheme for businesses, especially micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), as part of a Rs.20-lakh-crore economic stimulus package to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.
For salaried workers and taxpayers, some relief was provided in the form of an extended deadline for income tax returns for financial year 2019-20, with the due date now pushed to November 30, 2020. The rates of tax deduction at source (TDS) and tax collection at source (TCS) have been cut by 25% for the next year, while statutory provident fund (PF) payments have been reduced from 12% to 10% for both employers and employees for the next three months.
NBFCs get attention
Apart from MSMEs, other stressed business sectors which got attention were non-banking finance companies (NBFCs), power distribution companies, contractors and the real estate industry.
This is the first tranche of the Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday as a Rs.20 lakh crore economic package. That package includes the ongoing Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana, meant to support the poorest and most vulnerable communities during the pandemic, as well as several measures taken by the Reserve Bank of India to improve liquidity. More tranches are expected in the next few days.
Ms. Sitharaman side-stepped queries on the actual cash outgo for the government, as well as how the Centre intends to raise the needed funds.
Ernst and Young's chief policy advisor D.K. Srivastava estimated that the measures announced on Wednesday amounted to Rs.5.94 lakh crore, which include both liquidity financing measures and credit guarantees, although the direct fiscal cost to the government in the current financial year may only be Rs.16,500 crore.
MSMEs will get the bulk of the funding. The Rs.3 lakh crore emergency credit line will ensure that 45 lakh units will have access to working capital to resume business activity and safeguard jobs, Ms. Sitharaman said. For two lakh MSMEs which are stressed or considered non-performing assets, the Centre will facilitate provision of Rs.20,000 crore as subordinate debt. A Rs.50,000 crore equity infusion is also planned, through an MSME fund of funds with a corpus of Rs.10,000 crore.
The definition of an MSME is being expanded to allow for higher investment limits and the introduction of turnover-based criteria. In a bid to fulfill the Prime Minister's vision of a self-reliant or "atmanirbhar" India, global tenders will not be allowed for government procurement up to Rs.200 crore.

Consumers advised to be vigilant and inform Dept. of CS&CA, if any unfair noticed

Port Blair, May 13: The Department of Civil Supplies & Consumer Affairs is relentlessly enforcing various provisions of the Rules & Regulations framed under the Essential Commodities Act 1955, the Legal Metrology Act, 2009. In its exercise resulted in nabbing those persons/ shops/ establishments involved in any form of unfair trade practices and the violators were booked under relevant sections of the Act. Penal actions as per laid down procedures are taken in a time bound manner to act as a deterrent and so far an amount of Rs. 2,43,000/-  has been imposed on them as penalty during the Lockdown period in South Andaman. 
Apart from the above, dedicated Control Rooms are functional in all District Headquarters wherein numerous complaints were received out of which 95% of cases were redressed in 24 hrs. Further, this Department imposed capping on the price of all Essential Commodities including perishable items such as Vegetables & Fruits with adequate publicity, which is regulated in true spirit resulting in effective control of the market price.
All the proactive action taken by this Department has sensitised the consumers of this UT of their rights as the consumers have become very vigilant by promptly reporting any kind of unfair trade practices noticed by them.
The consumers are advised to be vigilant and inform the matter related to overcharging of any Essential Commodity to the notice of the Director, Directorate of Civil Supplies & Consumer Affairs, Port Blair via text message only on mobile number 9434266828 or to the Control Room over Toll free Phone No. 18003453197 & on Ph No: 03192-234062, a communication from the Director (CS&CA) said.

Vocal about local, but no snub to globalization



New Delhi, May 13: There are at least four discernible strands in Prime Minister Modi's speech of Tuesday
Prime Minister Narendra Modi's speech on May 12 sought to outline his vision for India in a post-coronavirus world order. It was a reiteration of his worldview and his faith in India's Manifest Destiny, seeking validation in the crisis of the old order.
Mr. Modi's pro-market supporters and his Left critics both understood him as an ally of global capitalism in 2014. Stephen Bannon, the ideologue of the Trump uprising in the U.S., termed Mr. Modi's politics as anti-globalism - a point that he reiterated in a recent interview to an Indian channel. There are at least four discernible strands in Mr. Modi's speech.
First, import substitution, an objective that drove nationalist economic policies in the 20th century, is back. Profit-driven globalisation had brought to the fore multiple insecurities of countries already when the pandemic struck, and it multiplied these fears manifold overnight. The biggest superpower's struggles with procuring enough masks and paracetamol, for instance, has exposed its vulnerabilities. Self-reliance is suddenly not a bad idea again. Mr. Modi's policies had already reflected this thinking earlier, but the new context has given him the courage to be "vocal about local". In a crisis, only the local capacities can be useful.
Second, this is not a rejection of globalisation, but a call for a new form of globalisation. Mr. Modi said, from profit-driven to people-centric. He believes that India is the repository of such a wisdom, it's the "Vishwa Guru", teacher of the world. "The global brands of today were sometimes also very local like this….they became global from (being) local." He elaborated further on India-led globalisation - on climate, on being helpful to other countries by offering them supplies in a time of crisis, led by the principle of "Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam".
Third, the manner in which he brought China into the picture, without naming it. India's self-reliance can only be at the cost of China. The current crisis could work to China's advantage further if it is business as usual. His speech obliquely questioned the Chinese grip over global supply chains, and was an invitation to western partners such as the U.S. for closer partnerships. Whether he could continue with his hyper-nationalist policies while actively being allied with the West is an open question.
Fourth, his notion of reforms for self-reliance, not for globalisation. The word reform is an ambiguous one but widely used as a code for pro-capital measures. In 2016, in his keynote speech at 41st AGM of U.S. India Business Council (USIBC), in Washington DC, he explained his views on "reforms". "I have said several times that my aim is to reform to transform. For me, reforms are those policies that transform the lives of ordinary citizens. In the last two years, we have taken a comprehensive package of reforms which go beyond mere economic reforms," he said, adding that "policies to ensure that growth benefits the poor and the weaker sections" and "a frontal attack on corruption", were reforms. On the same lines, on Tuesday, he counted as a reform, the government's ability to make cash payments to the poorest. "Bold reforms to create a self-reliant India," he said, will now be "broadened, giving a new height". His list of reforms overlaps substantially with the demands of owners of capital - rational tax system, simple and clear rules-of-law, good infrastructure, etc. But the slant clearly is state support for the national capitalists. Read with the emphasis on local companies going global, it becomes clearer. Trade liberalisation is unlikely; in fact, there could be more protectionist measures.
Additionally, his speech narrows the gap between the government and the rest of the Sangh Parivar. "Small scale industries, farmers and labourers are the three pillars of the Indian economy. The emphasis of the PM's speech was on these three," said Saji Narayanan, president of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh affiliated Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS). The BMS has been scathingly critical of the changes in labour laws made by the Bharatiya Janata Party governments in Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh in recent days, but Mr. Narayanan does not expect anything similar coming from the Centre. "There are still advisors within the government who have different views, and we will wait for the details in new announcements. But the political vision in the PM's speech is very encouraging," he said. The Swadeshi segments within the Parivar are buoyant.
But this is not an easy act to pull off. India has severe limitations in capital, technology and human resources. Balancing the interests of capital and labour is not easy. But as a political statement, this could not have been clearer or stronger, though his vocal, free-market interpreters are unlikely to make Mr. Modi's case this time. (The Hindu)

PBMC initiatives amid COVID-19


Port Blair, May 13: To prevent the outbreak of COVID-19 in Port Blair City, PBMC has been taking the following initiatives with active participation of elected representatives. To acknowledge the great efforts of Sanitation Workers, Smti S.Selvi, Councillor, Ward No. 05, PBMC distributed essential commodities  viz. dry Ration items in Ward No. 05.  PBMC has been arranging breakfast / Lunch across various Wards in collaboration with Civil Society Organization. Breakfast was distributed in Ward No 13, Ward No. 17 and Ward No.18. Lunch was arranged for the Sanitary Mazdoors by Mr L.Moorthy, Nominated Councillor, in Ward No.4 and by Smti Anusia Devi, Councillor at Ward No 9.
Every year before the onset of Monsoon, PBMC carries out a Major drain desilting works to prevent flooding. As a part this exercise desilting work near Marine Hall, Mohanpura Market, Bus Stand, Main Office of PBMC and near Delanipur School were taken-up by PBMC on 07/05/2020. On 12/05/2020, an inspection was carried out by Chairperson, Secretary and Officials of the Council at the Brichgunj Check Dam located in the Quarry area. PBMC has taken-up the restoration works and raw water will be drawn from the source for treatment and further distribution to households. 
On 09/05/2020, another 318 Tons of water was transported from Rutland through Barge. As on date, a total of 2949 tons of water has been transported from Hutbay and Rutland Island through vessels and Barge. Self Help Groups constituted under the DAY - NULM got an order from the Andaman Chamber of Commerce & Industries (ACCI) to prepare 5570 face masks. It is worth mentioning that the stitching activity was completed within a 10 days of time. Further PBMC has awarded another contract to make 5000 face masks to the SHG.