Sticking to regulations
With national lockdown being observed, the Centre on Tuesday extended the last date for filing Income Tax and GST returns to June 30. The much-anticipated relief in the final week of March allays fears of haphazard filing of returns. Given the dismal outlook, Finance Minister's announcement notification was anticipated albeit in a different sense. All nations are coming out with economic relief packages to counter the negative impact of the Coronavirus pandemic that has swept across the world. Some nations are batting for providing near-complete coverage of losses whereas some might provide half the assistance. It all comes down to the political outlook of the nation. Germany, UK, South Korea, etc., all have propelled a massive economic relief programme. There is no doubt that the global economy will enter negative growth in the wake of the pandemic. Global markets have dipped and recession might not be a distant reality. In such circumstances, it is imperative that the Indian government comes out with an economic bailout plan to ensure that the turbulent economy has some impetus to post better figures in this unfortunate fiscal year. When Nirmala Sitharaman took to the media, hopes were high for the announcement of some financial package but the Tuesday 2 pm announcement only observed an underlined notification of a late tax filing date. Nevertheless, Sitharaman and her colleagues are involved in creating a suitable package for India which would decide how the Indian economy as well as people's personal finances fair in the coming weeks. Individually, states have announced some relief in the form of money transfer to labours who are bound to lose out otherwise due to shortage of workdays. Same is the plight of NREGA workers who require a bailout scheme by the government. In short, every sector, thereby, would be in need of government assistance if it is to come out of the pandemic situation without bearing heavy losses. Lockdown has ensured the closure of all businesses and services albeit those essential for the time being. Manufacturing for non-essential items has drastically halted as the Centre has ensured double the manufacturing speed for essential items. Food and other essential items would have to be timely supplied to all stores from where they can reach the masses as India fights the pandemic with its inadequate health infrastructure.
The supply chain for essential items must be thoroughly assessed as any shortage or lapse can result in devastating outcomes; panic buying and hoarding are likely consequences in such circumstances. Already the prime minister has requested strict compliance of the lockdown imposed as India tries to restrict the spread of the Coronavirus. Despite PM's plea, there has been a violation of regulations with Delhi alone reporting around 900 cases of violation during the first day of the 9-day lockdown period. It must be realised that flouting lockdown rules would only result in further difficulty. The entire country is bearing the shock of the lockdown due to Coronavirus but with 10 deaths and 510 cases as of Tuesday afternoon, it should be realised that India stands at a far better position than countries that have been devastated by the pandemic. As the Centre comes up with an economic relief package, diligently sticking to lockdown measures will vastly restrict the spread of the deadly virus. It is therefore important on every individual's part to practice self-restraint and stay indoors while only heading out to buy essentials. While those with essential services have to work, others can stay put and contribute to the country's fight to overcome the peril. By not following regulations, we not only jeopardise our family and our society, but rather the whole country's safety. A look at the global toll must be enough to realise the importance of national advisories of lockdown. It is a battle that can be won collectively. Individual lapses will be very costly.