The Modi government is considering a proposal to guarantee as much as Rs 3 lakh crore of bank loans to small businesses, as part of a plan to restart the economy, according to a report by Bloomberg.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi interacted with the Chief Ministers earlier on April 27 via a video conference to take stock of the situation. During the interaction, PM Modi is believed to have indicated that the nationwide lockdown would continue beyond May 3 in some form in COVID-19 hotspots.
There were expectations that a fiscal package would be announced after taking into consideration state assessments and inputs from chief ministers in the meeting today.
"Economic relief is obviously on the agenda because the government is still assessing the needs of every sector and coming up with necessary solutions as and when required. It has already announced relief, more needs to be discussed," a senior government official had told Moneycontrol last week.
On March 26, the government announced that it would provide free rice/wheat and pulses to the poor for the next three months. It also announced the Prime Minister Gareeb Kalyan Scheme of Rs 1.70 lakh crore. The measures included Rs 50 lakh insurance cover for all frontline medical 'warriors'.
Frequently Asked Questions
A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.
There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.
Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.