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Digital India Faces Several Challenges Amidst Coronavirus Lockdown

The company also said it will give benefits on insurance for drivers and their spouses against loss of income due to contraction of COVID-19, as well as other medical support during this time will continue to be offered to all its driver-partners across the country

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Digital India
From Uber to Ola, Swiggy to Zomato and Bigbasket to Grofers -- and thousands of app-based services in between -- the digital dream has taken a 21-day long pause, and workers in the digital industry are in for job losses along with deep salary cuts. Pixabay

When Digital India took birth, little did we know that in an unprecedented situation like a total lockdown, the apps and services that helped us sail through the day with ease will immediately hang up on millions.

From Uber to Ola, Swiggy to Zomato and Bigbasket to Grofers — and thousands of app-based services in between — the digital dream has taken a 21-day long pause, and workers in the digital industry are in for job losses along with deep salary cuts.

Zomato CEO Deepinder Goyal has announced that several employees have taken deep voluntary salary cuts as the business has been hit owing to the COVID-19 lockdown. Uber and Ola drivers are confined to their homes and delivery boys for food and online grocery delivery platforms are afraid to come out on roads owing to the fear or being beaten up.

Uber India has reportedly given no help to its driver partners as of now, other than telling its employees to do yoga at home. Ola has reportedly taken the next step, asking the government to waive the loans of its drivers and delay the tax payments for them so that they can survive the Novel Coronavirus onslaught. The company, however, refused to comment on the reports.

According to the ride-hailing company, it is providing certain insurance and medical benefits to its drivers as well as waiving rental charges. “We can confirm that we are fully waiving away lease rentals, akin to an EMI, for driver partners who operate vehicles owned by Ola’s subsidiary, Ola Fleet Technologies under its leasing programme,” Ola said in a statement.

The company also said it will give benefits on insurance for drivers and their spouses against loss of income due to contraction of COVID-19, as well as other medical support during this time will continue to be offered to all its driver-partners across the country.

Thousands of daily-wage workers, low-end hotel staff and delivery boys have left metros for their home towns — some even on bikes — as establishments locked themselves. Smartphone-based leading food delivery platforms Zomato and Swiggy are in almost in no man’s land — with thin presence amid huge manpower shortage.

AI
When Digital India took birth, little did we know that in an unprecedented situation like a total lockdown, the apps and services that helped us sail through the day with ease will immediately hang up on millions. Pixabay

Bigbasket and Grofers are unable to fulfil orders owing to huge supply-demand issue along with thin delivery staff to go out and deliver. All eyes are now on the government to bail the online service providers from this mess.

ALSO READ: Facebook and Google Predict a Loss of $44 Billion in Global Ad Revenue

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday indicated that concerns of India Inc, small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) segments and other segments hit by the lockdown might be looked at and the government could announce a plan later.

“Our first priority is to provide food to the poor and money in their hands. We will think about other things later,” she said. (IANS)

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Is France Going to Witness Its Deepest Economic Downturn? Find it Out Here

Minister: France May See Deepest post-WW2 Downturn This Year

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France economy
France will likely see its deepest economic downturn due to COVID-19 this year since the end of World War Two. Pixabay

France will likely see its deepest economic downturn this year since the end of World War Two, far surpassing the slump seen after the global financial crisis, its finance minister said on Monday.

Bruno Le Maire told a Senate hearing by teleconference that eurozone’s second-biggest economy would likely contract more than it did in 2009.

“That shows the magnitude of the economic shock we are facing,” he said.

France economy
A policewoman wears a mask to protect herself against the spread of the new coronavirus, left, patrols at the garden of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France. VOA

The government estimated last month in an emergency budget update that the economy would contract 1% this year, but has since indicated that it would have to revise that figure.

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With the French economy currently running at two-thirds of normal levels, each month of government-imposed confinement could knock 3 percentage points off of growth, the INSEE official stats agency estimated last month.

Also Read- Physical Abuse During Childhood May Lead To Heavy Cigarette Use: Study

Some 5 million French workers — one out of four in the private sector —  have been put on furloughs subsidized by the state to avoid mass permanent layoffs, the Labour Ministry said on Monday.  (VOA)