Government Initiatives to Aid Businesses During COVID-19 Lockdown
The deadly COVID-19 has pushed the world economy into a standstill with many countries ordering complete or partial lockdowns to combat the spread of the disease. India has been on a nationwide lockdown since 25 March and will be entering into its fourth phase in a week.
The pandemic has cast its dark shadow on economic activities that have taken a huge hit with discrepancies in production, supply chains and trade. With uncertainty looming over our heads, various sectors of the economy are likely to be significantly impacted.
In order to mitigate the crisis in these testing times, the government of India has been preparing action plans to improve the business environment in India. The Central government, Reserve Bank of India, Securities & Exchange Board of India (SEBI), Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDAI) and other sectoral ministries are working towards maintaining and boosting the country’s economy.
The latest action plan of the government was announced on Tuesday by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. In his address to the nation, the PM announced a 20 lakh crore economic package, which is the equivalent of almost 10% of the country’s GDP, for a “self-reliant” India in order to fight the economic crisis that has arisen due to the deadly COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting nationwide lockdown.
All details of the 20 lakh crore economic package will be given over the next few days by finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman. The Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan (Self-reliant India Mission), the prime minister said, will cover “land, labour, liquidity, and laws”, industry and businesses of all sizes, and farmers, entrepreneurs, and the middle class.
- On 30 March 2020, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) ordered temporary relaxation in processing of documents pertaining to Foreign Portfolio Investors due to the COVID-19 crisis.
- The following day, the Ministry of Commerce & Industry extended the Foreign Trade Policy 2015-2020 for one year.
- On 2 April, the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) announced that scanned copies of pre-registration and other documents for registration under European Union Generalised System of Preferences would be accepted.
- On 18 April, the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) amended the foreign direct investment policy to curb opportunistic acquisition or takeover of Indian companies by China and made the government route mandatory for investments from countries that share a border with India.
- On 19 March, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) relaxed compliance of certain obligations and disclosure requirements in view of COVID pandemic, such as: (i) filing of corporate governance report, (ii) compliance certificate on share transfer facility