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Indian-Americans wish to contribute for infrastructure

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New Delhi: Scheduled visit of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the United States in September has made Indian-American community keen to chip in with funds for India’s infrastructural growth.

Modi government has been asked to issue “Vibrant India” bonds by the US-India Political

Action committee (USINPAC), an organization of the Non-Resident Indians (NRIs).

The representatives of the group will visit India and engage with the Indian government.

USINPAC Chairman Sanjay Puri and Director India Affairs Robinder Sachdev have already met Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Road, Transport and Highways and Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari.

Puri said, “We have had extensive discussions on Wall Street with some of the financial institutions and also with leading members of the Indian diaspora on the viability of Vibrant India bonds” (Inputs from agencies)(Image Source: indiatransportportal.com)

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Finance Minister’s Announcements Will Boost MSMEs: PM Modi

Modi praised the announcements made by the Finance Minister in a tweet

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Prime Minister
Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to Twitter to appreciate the announcements made by the Finance Minister. Wikimedia Commons

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday hailed the announcements made by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to aid the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), which have taken a beating during the Covid-19 induced lockdown.

Modi tweeted, “Today’s announcements by FM @nsitharaman will go a long way in addressing issues faced by businesses, especially MSMEs. The steps announced will boost liquidity, empower the entrepreneurs and strengthen their competitive spirit.

He also used the hashtag ‘Atma-nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan’, which is a reference to self-reliant India, something which he vowed to turn the country into during his televised address to the nation on Tuesday night.

TV, LED panels, Finance Minister, India, import duty
Sitharaman announced to widen the definition of MSMEs and raise the investment limit on Wednesday. Wikimedia Commons

Speaking to the media here on Wednesday, Sitharaman announced to widen the definition of MSMEs and raise the investment limit. Another criteria, turnover of the company, has also been added to the required norms for classification of MSMEs.

Read More: Bars, Guest Houses Allowed to Open in Lockdown 4, Urges Goa Minister

Sitharaman also announced a collateral-free automatic loan for MSMEs of up to Rs 3 lakh crore, among other liquidity measures.

In a move to provide more scope for Indian companies, including MSMEs, the Centre has decided to disallow global firms from participating in government procurement tenders up to Rs 200 crore.

These were part of a multi-pronged approach of the government to rejuvenate the sector which has been badly hit by the suspension of economic activities in the country in the wake of the nationwide lockdown which is place to fight the Covid-19 pandemic. (IANS)

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Safer Infrastructure Conducive to Wellness Industry Post-Lockdown

Backlash suffered by Wellness industry to be reversed by safer infrastructure

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Wellness
Wellness Industry to commit to safer Infrastruture post pandemic. Pixabay

BY ADITI ROY

With the global COVID-19 pandemic scourging across the nation and our daily lives, we have to cut down on a lot of things. One of the main activities taking a hit is our grooming and wellness regimen. The salons, spas, barber shops, parlours, clinics are under the lens of social distancing norms, as consumers our regular visit to cater to our grooming and wellness requirements have taken a halt.

From an industry angle, the beauty and wellness segment is currently serving livelihoods of 70 lakh employees. Manpower costs being around 40% of revenues and rent being 15-20%, and zero revenue for the sixty days of lockdown, have caused distress among owners and employees. The extended lockdown will lead to large scale unemployment and significant disruption given the high proportion of migrants, say industry experts.

Adding, only safe infrastructure can assure safe processes and protocols. Safety of physical infrastructure of the salon, parlour, clinic being the first pillar, it is imperative to have the stated standards of safety and hygiene before moving to the other pillars of personnel and clientele.

A delegation of representatives of Beauty and Wellness enterprises – barber shops, beauty parlours, salons, spas, clinics recently participated in a video conference with Union MSME Minister Nitin Gadkari to highlight the plight of the industry and seek a lifeline for the 70 lakh professionals, 2/3rds women, mostly belonging to lower socio-economic and educational backgrounds. Participants in the conference represented by the likes of Online Wellness, YLG Salon, Enrich Salon, Lakme Salon, Kaya, Looks Salon, Hakim’s Aalim, BBlunt, JCB Salons, Envi Salon, VLCC, Kapil’s Salons, Juice, Bodycraft, Headmasters, AN John Salons, Naturals, Green Trends, Head Turners, Cleopatra, Vipul Chudasama Salon, Studio Profile, Beyond the Fringe and other micro and small enterprises across the country.

The representatives, requested the authorities that Beauty and Wellness enterprises -barber shops, salons, spas and clinics – should be allowed to operate with strict compliance with the health & safety guidelines issued by the Beauty & Wellness Sector Skills Council, under advise from Corona critical care unit of AIIMS and Ministry of Skill Development.

Barber
Wellness industry suffered a backlash, needs safe Infra post-lockdown. Pixabay

The MHA should mandate stringent compliance of the guidelines across the four verticals:

Safe usage of Infrastructure facility

Safety of Administrative personnel

Safety of Clientele

Safety of Service providers

Other key relief measures the representatives sought from the minister than easing the lockdown norms included health cover for employees upto 5 lakh, and life cover upto 25 lakh, extension of GST payment and auto renewal of licensing after 12 months and measures to address the dire need to cover the liquidity crunch.

Responding to the situation, Pushkaraj Shenai, CEO, Lakme Salon said, “We have made significant investments in strong safety protocols delivered by high quality hygiene products. We have used the lockdown period to digitally train our team – right from the housekeeping staff and experts to salon managers, office teams and business partners – in these new methods to ensure complete adherence to protocols. Our 4,500 team members have also attended a cumulative 300,000 plus hours of high-quality education during the lockdown to enhance their skill and execute the highest standards of hygiene and safety. Rigorous hygiene protocols and high-quality products have always been top priorities for us at Lakme Salon. In the new normal, the safety of our team and customers is the key focus area.”

In collaboration with experts and medical professionals, the Lakme Salon team has reengineered the customer experience journey across all touchpoints and developed stringent operating guidelines to ensure the highest levels of safety and hygiene for customers and staff.

Also Read: 5 Ways to Make Your Business Withstand Impending Global Crisis

The key themes are:

Rigorous and continuous screening of salon teams and customers with the Aarogya Setu app. Clients in high risk groups will be advised not to get treatments.

Strict social distancing through 50% staff strength and limited pre-booked appointments.

Daily deep cleaning and regular disinfection of every touchpoint throughout the day with a biosurfactant cleaner

Protective gear – masks, gloves, visors – for the team

Single-use kits for 90% of services

Revised processes for skin, hair and make-up services to reduce touch

Biodegradable disposables

Sterilisation of tools and equipment after every use

Contactless billing and payments

Contactless home delivery for post care products (IANS)

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Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi Warns About Complacency in The Fight Against COVID-19

Modi Warns Indians Against Complacency in Fight Against Coronavirus

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Indian Prime Minister
The researchers did find that public health measures, including school closures, social distancing and restrictions of large gatherings, have been effective. VOA

By Anjana Pasricha

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi warned the country about complacency in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic in a Sunday radio address and appealed to people to strictly comply with a nationwide lockdown that has been in effect for over a month.

He stressed the need to sustain India’s “people-driven” war against the coronavirus.

The prime minister, a popular leader in country of 1.3 billion people, urged Indians to wear masks, follow social distancing norms and avoid spitting in public places calling these measures “the biggest medicine to fight this disease in the days to come.”

Indian Prime Minister
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi warned the country about complacency in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. Flickr

The message comes as India takes tiny steps to restart the economy, raising worries that this may cause a spike in coronavirus cases. It is also seen as targeted at areas which remain unaffected by the virus — most of India’s infections are racing through densely packed cities while its vast countryside is largely unaffected.

Modi said people should “not be trapped into over-confidence and nurse the belief that in our city, in our village, in our streets, in our office, coronavirus has not reached and that is why it will not reach.”

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Indians have so far adhered zealously to the calls for a stringent lockdown as the dreaded infection spread a wave of fear. Several neighborhoods in cities have imposed their own strict guidelines while volunteer squads in many villages do not allow outsiders to come in.

Whether such strict compliance will continue remains to be seen as the country begins to unlock  on Saturday it allowed shops in rural areas and neighborhood stores in cities to open. Farm based businesses and some factories restarted earlier this week.

Indian Prime Minister
Indian people stand on the lines drawn to maintain safe distance as they wait to receive free food being distributed by Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) during a 21-day nationwide lockdown to slow the spreading of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Chennai, India, April 1, 2020. VOA

However not everyone is rushing to open their shutters and some traders remain wary about doing business while the infection is still raging. “Many shop owners told me they may not open immediately because customers are unlikely to come, so why should we expose ourselves,” according to Praveen Khandelwal, the Secretary- General of the Confederation of All India Traders. “It will take time for them to pick up confidence.”

But as calls grow to open up more sectors of the economy, specially from big business, the government is expected to draw up a strategy on Monday about how it plans to exit the lockdown that is due to end on May 3.

Also Read- UNICEF Warns That COVID-19 Crisis Prevents Shipment of Vaccines for Children

India saw its biggest spike in cases of coronavirus infections on Saturday with nearly 2,000 new cases taking the nation’s total to about 26,500. 824 people have died.

Although those numbers are modest compared to many countries, many fear they may not reflect the accurate spread of the infection because testing has been limited so far and is only now being ramped up in areas that are “hotspots.”  (VOA)