With the Covid-19 pandemic wreaking havoc worldwide across businesses and sectors, TechCircle brings you updates on developments in India’s enterprise and emerging technology sectors.
The updates have been aggregated from verified sources of social media, agencies and news publications.
Note to readers: This blog is no longer being updated. Do continue to stay updated on all the news related to the Covid-19 crisis from the enterprise and emerging technology universe at TechCircle through our regular coverage.
Indian equity indices slip tracking global markets
Benchmark equity markets opened lower today with Sensex dropping 300 points in the opening session while Nifty fell close to 100 points tracking weak trends in global markets after US President Donald Trump scheduled a statement on China later today. At 0958 AM, Nifty was trading 50.20 points or 0.53% lower at 9439.90 and Sensex was trading 250.03 points or 0.78% at 31950.56.
India records 165,799 Covid-19 confirmed cases on Friday
With the fourth phase of the national lockdown set to end in three days, India saw an increase of 7,466 confirmed cases to 165,799 as on Friday with 89987 active cases, 71,105 discharged and 4,706 deaths, as per data released by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. The Cabinet Secretary met with local officials of 13 Covid-19 hit cities to take a review of the situation late on Thursday. These 13 cities contain about 70% of the positive cases in the country. The 13 focus cities are Mumbai, Chennai, New Delhi, Ahmedabad, Thane, Pune, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Indore, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Chengalpattu and Thiruvallur. Chief Secretaries of all state governments and Union Territories concerned attended the meeting.
Karnataka suspends entry of any person from five states to contain Covid-19 spread
The Karnataka government has decided to suspend the entry of any person coming from Maharashtra, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan in a bid to contain the spread of Covid-19. The arrivals of flights, trains and vehicles from the states have been put on hold.
Supreme Court orders states not to charge fares from migrant workers
The apex court has ordered states and UTs not to collect fares from migrant workers for travel either by train or bus. The bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan said the workers had to be notified on their dates of travel as well as be provided with food and water at the station by the originating state and by the Railways during the journey.
Sensex surges close to 600 points, Nifty at 9490
The market indices rallied for a second day as the Sensex closed 1.88 percent or 595 points higher at 32,200. The rally was led by banking and auto stocks as well as the F&O expiry. The Nifty was 1.88% higher by 175 points at 9490.
The top gainers were L&T, Eicher Motors and HDFC Bank while the laggards were Bharti Airtel, SBI and ITC.
Maharashtra registers 2190 fresh cases
Maharashtra registered 2,190 fresh cases and 105 deaths in the last 24 hours. The total tally in the state is now at 56,948 while the number of deceased were at 1897.
Zenatix launches IoT solutions for office employees resuming work
IoT based automation and Asset Management startup Zenatix has launched IoT solutions to help businesses resume operations safely. Zensafe is a contactless 3 in 1 employee safety and attendance solution which utilizes facial recognition while ZenMonitor is an early detection body temperature monitoring solution which transmits real time body temperature data to the cloud via an arm band.
Global Covid 19 cases inches towards 5.5 million mark
The global Covid-19 death toll has touched 349,095, with 5,581 cases in the past 24 hours alone. The World Health Organization revealed in its daily situation report. South and North America combined had 24,95,924 cases with 1,45,810 deaths while Europe reported 20,61,828 cases and 1,76,226 deaths.
Zoomcar resumes operations in 35 cities
Car rentals startup Zoomcar has resumed its operations in 35 cities. Operations have resumed in south and east zone cities such as Bengaluru, Mangaluru, Hyderabad, Vizag, and Siliguri among others, with select areas such as Mysore and north and west zones cities will have operational availability from 7 am to 7 pm. Zoomcar will offer unlimited rescheduling and a 100% discount on all short-term rental bookings made between May 26 and 29.
Aarogya setu’s source code revealed to the public
The ministry of electronics and information technology on Tuesday released the source code for the Android version of the Aarogya Setu app by making it open source.
Additionally, policy think tank NITI Aayog has announced a bug bounty program for developers to find and solve security issues in the application.
Kerala launches app for issuing e-tokens to purchase liquor
In a plan to contain overcrowding in liquor stores, Kerala has rolled out an app called BevQ to deliver tokens for liquor purchase.
Nobody without the token will be allowed to purchase alcohol in the state, whose wine shops have not been opened for 63 days.
Twitter CEO donates $10 million towards Covid-19 fight
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has donated $10 million to a non-profit program 'project 100'. The money will be used to contribute $1000 to over 10,000 families which have been affected by the pandemic. Other donors to project 100 include Sundar Pichai, Steve Ballmer, Bill Gates and Sergey Brin.
Aegon Life launches Covid-19 insurance cover on Flipkart
Aegon Life Insurance has launched a Covid-19 insurance cover worth Rs. 1 Lakh in partnership with Flipkart. This will be an add-on to the base life insurance plan of the company. The plan will support the policy holder for a minimum of 24 consecutive hours on the diagnosis of Covid 19.
Sensex opens 200 points higher
The Sensex opened 228 points or 0.70% higher in the pre-market trading session and was at 31827 at 9:10 am. The Nifty gained 50 points and was 0.54% higher at 9364.
Covid 19 cases at 1.58 lakh
The number of Covid-19 cases has jumped by 6566 cases from the previous day and now stands at 1,58,333 according to the 8AM update by the MoHFW.
The death toll in the country was at 4531 while 67,692 have been cured.
10 states and union territories have recorded more than 3000 cases so far.
Covid-19: Recovery rate improves to 42.4%
Government of India on Wednesday has said that the Covid-19 fatality rate for India is among the lowest in the world, with recovery rate improves to 42.4% today.
As of today, total of 1,51,767 cases have been reported from the country in which 64,426 persons have been cured and the recovery rate is pegged at 42.4%.
The fatality rate is 2.86% whereas the world average is 6.36%, the centre said in a statement. As of today, 930 dedicated COVID hospitals with 1,58,747 Isolation beds, 20,355 ICU beds and 69,076 Oxygen supported beds are available, it added.
The statement also added that 2,362 dedicated Covid health centres with 1,32,593 isolation beds; 10,903 ICU beds and 45,562 oxygen supported beds have been operationalised.
The centre also informed that the testing capacity has increased in the country through 435 Government laboratories and 189 private laboratories (total of 624 labs). Cumulatively, 32,42,160 samples have been tested so far for Covid-19, whereas, 1,16,041 samples were tested yesterday.
Sensex jumps 995 points, Nifty ends above 9,300
The BSE Sensex rallied 996 points or 3.25% higher at 31,605.22 on Wednesday, led by massive gains in banking and IT stocks, after hitting a high of 31,660.60 during the day.
Similarly, NSE Nifty surged 285.90 points or 3.17% to 9,314.95.
Some of the major gainers in the Sensex pack were Axis Bank, ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, IndusInd Bank, Bajaj Finance, Kotak Bank, SBI, HDFC, Infosys, TCS, LT, and Hero Motocorp. Whereas, Sun Pharma, UltraChem, Titan, Asian Paint, Maruti and Powergrid, were among major losers, falling upto 1.85%.
Revoke TDS deduction for e-commerce firms: IAMAI
The Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) has appealed to the government that the Tax Deducted at Source (TDS) applicable for all product and service e-Commerce firms be revoked immediately.
TDS was introduced by through Section 194-0 of the Income Tax Act under the Finance Act 2020 and mandated a deduction of 1% for all e-commerce platforms.
The association in a statement said, "In wake of the present economic slowdown that is proving to be a major challenge for most businesses, any such form of additional levy that creates compliance and working capital challenges may be well avoided, and therefore requests for revoking Section 194-O in the present context."
TCS prepares social distancing and hygiene norms for exam centers to operate post lockdown
Mumbai-based Tata Consultancy Services has announced a standard operating procedure called Social Distanced Assessments (SD-Assessments) drawn up in consultation with health experts from the exam section of All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS) and Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI).
SD-Assessments developed by TCS iON, a strategic unit of TCS will help in conduct secure, proctored in-center assessments for recruitment and academic admissions in the post lockdown phase, without compromising on the safety of the candidates and proctoring staff.
Log 9 Materials’ disinfection chamber ‘CoronaOven’ to extend footprint to global markets
Nanotechnology startup Log 9 Materials has said that its product named CoronaOven, a disinfection/ sanitization chamber which makes use of multi-focal UV-C rays to kill Coronaviruses is all set to extend its footprints to the European and American markets.
The Bengaluru-headquartered firm has deployed a number of variants of its ‘CoronaOven’ product in hospitals, police stations, airports, among other public spaces across India.
Google to reopen offices, targets 30% capacity in September
Search giant Google has said that it would reopen offices starting July 6 with 10% of their capacity and scale it up to 30% in September, if conditions permit.
The company's chief executive officer Sundar Pichai in an email addressed to employees said that it would also give each employee an allowance of $1,000, or the equivalent value in their country, to expense necessary equipment and office furniture, as it expects most of them to largely work from home for the remainder of the year.
Microsoft helps communities in rural India to tackle Covid-19 with virtual trainings
Aga Khan Rural Support Programme India (AKRSPI) has said that it used Microsoft Teams to keep its staff located across some of the most remote regions of India connected and conduct training for rural communities. Using Microsoft Teams, nearly 250 volunteers were given trainings about mask manufacturing.
The transformative impact of shifting remote co-working and collaboration from the field to Teams has significantly improved AKRSPI’s operations and impact during this critical period, the organisation said in a statement.
They are now on their way to enabling the production of a million masks in the next couple of months to help rural communities stay protected, it said.
MoHFW issues guidance note for reproductive, maternal, newborn, child, adolescent health plus nutrition (RMNCAH+N) services during and post Covid-19
Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has issued a guidance note on provision of reproductive, maternal, newborn, child, adolescent health plus nutrition (RMNCAH+N) services during and post Covid-19 pandemic. It elaborates the various RMNCAH+N services to be provided at different levels in accordance with the zonal categorisation of containment zones and buffer zones and beyond these zones.
The guidance also noted that critical services for women, children and adolescent should be provided irrespective of their COVID status, and under no circumstances should there be a denial of essential services, it said.
.@MoHFW_INDIA issues guidance note on provision of Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child, Adolescent Health Plus Nutrition (RMNCAH+N) services during & post #COVID19Pandemic— PIB India #StayHome #StaySafe (@PIB_India) May 27, 2020
Read here: https://t.co/NMidVBiGbG
Sensex up, Nifty below 9,050
Indian indices opened higher on Wednesday led by gains in in financials like ICICI Bank, Kotak Bank and HDFC Bank. At 09:16am, the Sensex was up at 116.63 points or 0.38% at 30725.93, and the Nifty up 31.50 points or 0.35% at 9060.55. However, at 09:55 am, the BSE Sensex was trading 43.54 points lower at 30,572.48, while the Nifty was at 9,022.25, lower by 6.80 points.
India Covid-19 count nears 152,000 mark
India’s count of Covid-19 cases is close to cross 152,000 mark. With over 6000 new cases and 170 deaths in the last 24 hours. The total number of cases in the country now at 1,51,836 including 83,204 active cases, 64,277 cured/discharged and 4344 deaths, according to Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
Ola restarts taxi services to airports in 22 cities
ANI Technologies-owned shared mobility platform Ola has resumed its cab services to airports in 22 cities. The cities include Bengaluru, Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Amritsar, Bhopal, Bhubaneswar, Chandigarh, Coimbatore, Dehradun, Guwahati, Indore, Jaipur, Kochi, Madurai, Mangalore, Patna, Raipur, Ranchi, Varanasi, and Visakhapatnam.
Nifty ends above 9000 mark amid volatility
Benchmark equity indices shed its entire gains made early during the day following rise in broader global markets. Nifty managed to close above the 9000 mark although it dipped to 8996.95 in the trading session.
Today, Nifty closed 10.20 points or 0.11% lower at 9029.05 while Sensex ended 63.29 points or 0.21% at 30609.30.
Central health ministry, 5 state government officials review Covid-19 spread
Officials of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare along with chief secretaries and health secretaries of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh have reviewed the spread of Covid-19 pandemic. These states are witnessing a surge in Covid-19 cases since the last three weeks as lockdown rules have been eased and inter-state migration has been allowed, a statement said.
The states officials were briefed on the effective containment strategy including individual case trajectory, fatality rate, testing, special surveillance teams, active contact tracing and effective clinical management.
The central ministry also stressed the need to focus attention on health infrastructure such as quarantine centres, ICUs and use of Aarogya Setu data.
Stanza Living adds Covid-19 protection ready features to co-living spaces
Shared accommodation startup Stanza Living has formulated a framework for its residences across 14 cities which include hygiene and safety in light of the Covid-19 pandemic. To ensure safety, the company is undertaking frequent building disinfection and deep cleaning, as well as thermal monitoring at all entry and exit points, mandatory protective equipment for all staff, Aarogya setu app installs, medical undertaking and travel history recording for all residents, as well as social distancing markers for all common spaces.
Tourism ministry extends validity of all hotel ratings till June 30
The Ministry of Tourism has extended the validity of existing ratings and certifications of all hotels till June 30, 2020 considering that the hospitality industry is going through a very difficult time in the wake of Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown.
A similar extension has been given to travel agents, tour operators, adventure tour operators, domestic tour operators and tourist transport operators, a statement said. The tourism ministry classifies hotels under the star rating system to conform to the expected standards for different classes of tourists.
MSME minister Gadkari says government looking for new lending institution
Union Minister for MSME (micro, small and medium enterprises) and Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari said that the government is exploring new financial lending institutions to support small-scale units including strengthening the non-banking finance companies (NBFCs) which will help small businesses to avail easy credit in the coming time.
Gadkari was speaking at a meeting via video conferencing with the Members of Calcutta Chamber of Commerce on the impact of Covid-19 on MSMEs.
Aarogya Setu app not compulsory for all returning NRIs
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has dropped the mandatory downloading of Aarogya Setu app requirement for non-resident Indian (NRIs) returning to India. In a May 5 circular, the ministry had said that returning Indians will be ‘asked’ to download the app. However, in a fresh notification, MHA has said that advisory of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare will be applicable.
On May 24, the health ministry said that all passengers will be advised to download the Aarogya Setu app on their mobile devices. Aarogya Seu app is to be compulsorily downloaded only in cases such as human illness and death in family, where boarding is permitted without the mandatory quarantine.
Shramik trains ferried over 40 lakh passengers says railway ministry
The Ministry of Railways, which started Shramik Trains on May 1 to transport stranded workers and tourists and students, has ferried over 40 lakh passengers by May 25 via 3,060 trains.
Gujarat, Maharashtra, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi were the states from where maximum trains originated, the ministry said in a statement. Top five states where maximum trains terminated are Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and Odisha.
The ministry also said the congestion issue that occurred on routes to Bihar and Uttar Pradesh is now resolved. In addition to Shramik trains, railways is running 15 pairs of special trains from New Delhi and plans to start 200 more trains on June 1.
ZestMoney says financial literacy plan saw improved loan repayment; default rates dipped
Fintech platform ZestMoney saw 6% rise in repayment rates, 15% fall in the bad loans and a 60% reduction in fraud complaints on its platform despite the lockdown and Covid-19 impact, the company said in a statement. It has attributed the improvement to its Financial Literacy programme, which ZestMoney claims to have benefitted over 10 million people. Through the programme, the company is using a multi-channel approach including radio, social media and on-call counseling to inform its customers about credit scores, digital payments and online shopping.
Nifty, Sensex open higher on global cues
Indian benchmark indices opened higher today tracking global markets, led by gains in steel companies JSW Steel and Hindalco and bank stocks HDFC Bank and IndusInd Bank. At 09:43 AM, Nifty was at 9135.45, up 96.20 points or 1.06% and BSE Sensex was at 30992.22, up 319.63 points from previous close.
India Covid-19 count nears 150K mark
The total number of Covid-19 cases in India has come close to the 150,000 mark even as the country has started domestic flights on a restricted basis from Monday. As of today, India saw 145,380 cases, with 80,722 active cases and 60,490 cured cases, as per data released by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. Maharashtra, the state with highest count of 52,667 confirmed cases, has started first open hospital at Bandra Kurla Complex with 1,000-bed jumbo facility and 200-bed ICU.
Jumbo facilities created in Mumbai for treating COVID patients;— CMO Maharashtra (@CMOMaharashtra) May 25, 2020
The first open hospital in the Country has been created in a fortnight by the @MMRDAOfficial at the BKC. This 1,000 bed jumbo facility includes a 200 bed ICU. pic.twitter.com/Xo2Eq6gZGf
OCI cardholders stranded abroad permitted to come back to India : MHA
The Ministry of Home Affairs today announced relaxation in visa and travel norms imposed in view of Covid-19 pandemic and said that certain categories of Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) cardholders are permitted to travel back. These include minor children born to Indian parents abroad, university students whose parents live in India and are citizens, those wishing to travel due to family emergencies and those with permanent residence in India.
Banks and financials drag Sensex down by 260 points after RBI cuts repo rate
Sensex closed the day at 260 points, or 0.84 percent lower at 30,672.59, while Nifty lost 67 points, or 0.74 percent, and ended at 9,039.
The BSE Finance and BSE Bankex were lower by 3 percent and 2.44 percent respectively.
MIT downgrades Aarogya Setu ratings to one out of five stars
Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have downgraded the ratings of India’s contact tracing app Aaorgya Setu from two to one out of five stars. This after the app lost points for collecting more data than the information it needs to track Covid-19 spread.
Amazon to add 50,000 seasonal job roles to meet demand
Amazon India today announced that it has opened close to 50,000 seasonal roles to meet the surge in demand from people relying on Amazon’s service, particularly those most vulnerable to being out in public. This will include roles in the fulfilment centres and delivery network including part-time flexible work opportunities as independent contractors with Amazon Flex, which allows workers to use their own vehicles to deliver items.
278 new positive cases in Mumbai police
In the past 48 hours, 278 police personnel have tested positive for Covid 19 which has taken the total number of positive cases in Maharashtra to 1666, with 1177 active cases and 16 deaths, reports ANI.
In the last 48 hours, 278 police personnel have tested positive for #COVID19. The total number of positive cases in Maharashtra Police is now 1,666 including 1,177 active cases, 473 recovered and 16 deaths: Maharashtra Police pic.twitter.com/7b3gpCQm7S— ANI (@ANI) May 22, 2020
RBI cuts repo rate by 40 basis points
The RBI has cut the repo rate by 40 basis points from 4.4% to 4.0%, RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das said the cut was due to fall in industrial output and demand.
Production of consumer durables fell by 33% as the Governor said that GDP would most likely witness negative growth in the 2021 financial year and there was more space for a rate cut as inflation trajectory emerges.
Uber resumes operations in Karnataka
Uber has resumed its operations in Bangalore, Mysore, Mangalore, and Hubli, while following compliance Lockdown 4.0 guidelines issued by the Government.
Riders in Bangalore will be able to book UberAuto, UberGO, Premier, Intercity, Hourly Rental, UberXL, Access, and Assist on their Uber App. While Mysore will have UberAuto, UberGO, Premier, and Intercity options. Intercity travel will only be allowed with necessary authorization and within state boundaries and permissible zones.
Inflation expected to fall below 4% in q3 and q4 of 2020 : RBI Governor
RBI chief Shaktikanta Das said in a press briefing on Friday that the inflation for the third and fourth quarter of 2020 might fall below 4% and there would not be any fall in the first half of 2020.
The chief pointed out that a lot would depend on how quickly India can flatten the Covid-19 curve and remove the lockdown.
Sensex down by 180 points
In Friday's pre-trading session, the market indices opened in the red as the Sensex was down 180 points or 0.58% at 30752 at 9:15 am. The Nifty dropped 0.70% or 64 points and was at 9042.
India sees biggest single day spike with 6,088 cases
India recorded 6088 new cases and 148 deaths in the last 24 hours. The total number of Covid-19 cases in the country was at 118447, with 3583 deceased.
The number of active cases were at 66,330, while 48,533 were cured.
Google, Apple release contact tracing API for Covid-19 trackers across the globe
Search giant Google and consumer technology firm Apple have released ‘exposure notifications’ technology for contact tracing apps created by public health officials. Contact tracing is a method used by many governments across the globe to contact, test, treat and advise people who may have been affected by Covid-19.
The technology companies defined exposure notifications as a way by which individuals can be notified if they are in close proximity of the virus, without any issues relating to their privacy or misuse of data.
Risers Accelerators to offer Rs 2 cr to startups working for Covid-19 prevention
Risers Accelerator, started by group of 35 entrepreneurs, will offer Rs 2 crore in funding to firms working on solutions to prevent Covid-19 spread. The Delhi-based startup accelerator said it is conducting digital meetings to hear the pitches and shortlist companies for funding. Startups including Mylocal99, AskExperts, and LaunchMyDrug may be eligible for the funding, it added.
Bike rental startup Vogo restarts operations in Bengaluru
Bike rental platform Vogo has restarted some operations in Bangalore from today and plans to open 50 additional docking stations in the city. It has increased the rental duration of the two wheelers. The company will home deliver the sanitized bikes to those who are unable to come to pick them up from the docking stations. Vogo will sanitize all of its vehicles before handing over the bikes to users and will issue sanitization kits to customers.
Aviation ministry caps on domestic flights; Mumbai-Delhi route air fare capped at Rs 10,000
The Ministry of Civil Aviation has decided to restrict the air fares of domestic flights plying travellers between May 25 and August 24 in a price band. The air routes are divided in seven buckets on the basis of travel time starting from flights with duration of less than 40 minutes till flights taking up to 210 minutes, Hardeep Singh Puri, aviation minister said.
For Delhi-Mumbai route the minimum fare would be Rs 3,500 and maximum at Rs 10,000. For airline companies, operations from Metro-Metro will be at 33.33% capacity of approved summer schedule 2020. Metro cities include Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad and Kolkata.
Nifty, Sensex end Thursday on positive note; ITC gains for two consecutive days
Indian equity indices on Thursday ended with gains led by ITC and Hindalco. The Sensex closed 114.29 points or 0.37% higher to 30,932.90 while the Nifty50 index ended at 9,106.25, up 39.70 points or 0.44%.
Aviation stocks InterGlobe Aviation and SpiceJet continued their rising trajectory since today’s open as the government restarted domestic flights. Two-wheeler maker Bajaj Auto also ended up 3% on better-than-expected results for the March quarter.
Uber expands package delivery service in more cities
Shared mobility major Uber has extended its recently launched package delivery service, Uber Connect, in New Delhi, Noida, Hyderabad, Chennai, and Chandigarh. The service was tested in four cities, Kolkata, Jaipur, Guwahati and Gurgaon. With this expansion, Uber Connect will now be available across nine key Indian cities.
Uber Connect will only take packages transportable on a two wheelers and under five kilograms.
Swiggy starts online home delivery of alcohol in Ranchi
Food delivery major Swiggy has started online processing and home delivery of alcohol through the ‘wine shops’ category in Ranchi. The platform has received approvals from the Jharkhand government, with the service starting in other major cities in the state in a week. It is also in advanced stages of discussions with multiple state governments for home delivery of alcohol. Swiggy has put in place measures for legal compliance such as mandatory age verification and user authentication to complete deliveries.
Aviation ministry issues SoP for flights starting May 25
The Ministry of Civil Aviation has formulated guidelines for air travel for passengers, airlines, airports, security agencies including self-declaration on Aarogya Setu app, mandatory online check-in, air fares, wearing protective gear.
Government to start trains on some routes from June 1
The Ministry of Railways has decided that train services on Indian Railways shall be further partially restored effective June 1, 2020. The ministry will restart 200 passenger services whose booking has commenced from today. The services, which are restarted in consultation with the Ministry of Health & Family welfare (MoHFW) and Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), shall be in addition to the existing Shramik special trains.
TCS top execs take pay cuts; chairman pins hope on digital transformation post Covid-19
C-suite executives of Mumbai-based Tata Consultancy Services have taken pay cuts for the financial year 2020 as the information technology (IT) services firm braces for Covid-19’s impact on business. TCS Chairman N Chandrasekaran said that the company will take advantage of opportunities arising from the downturn to acquire new capabilities and gain market share as technology will play a larger role for enterprises adjusting to the new normal in the post-Covid-19 stage.
Kerala, Delhi show a spike in Covid-19 cases
While Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat are the top states in terms of Covid-19 cases, Delhi showed a spike of 534 new cases on Wednesday as confirmed cases reached to 11,088, with the state taking the fourth spot. Kerala, which has been model state for its measures taken to curb Covid-19 spread, saw a spike of 24 cases taking the confirmed cases to 666. Of the new cases added on Wednesday, 23 are import cases and one contact case.
May 20 #COVID19 Update— CMO Kerala (@CMOKerala) May 20, 2020
Today saw 24 new cases. (23 of these are import cases & 1 contact case).
5 have recovered (the total number of recovered is at 502).
????74,398 under observation
???? 48,543 tested; 46,961 are -ve
???? 6,090 covered in sentinel surveillance; 5,728 are -ve. pic.twitter.com/PDwgokvDQy
Nifty, Sensex open higher Thursday; aviation stocks rise
Indian benchmark equity indices opened higher on Thursday with the Nifty breaching 9100 levels in pre-open. At 0951, Nifty was at 9,119.80 higher by 53.25 points or 0.59% while BSE Sensex was at 31004.95 up 186.34 points or 0.60% than their previous close. Aviation stocks zoomed as the government allowed resuming domestic flights from May 25. Shares of Interglobe Aviation and SpiceJet are trading higher by 7-8%.
India Covid-19 cases rise to 112,359; records 3,435 deaths
India’s Covid-19 cases in the country were at 112,359 cases, according data released by MoHFW with 63,624 active cases, 45,299 recovered patients and 3,435 deaths. Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat are among the top states in terms of most active cases.
Confirmed Covid-19 cases in Maharashtra at nearly 40,000
The Covid-19 cases in Maharashtra, including Mumbai, continues to escalate. Wednesday saw more than 2,000 positive cases added to the state's tally, health minister Rajesh Tope said on Twitter. Paramilitary forces were deployed in several parts of Mumbai, which has been acutely affected by the pandemic, to aid the local police forces in enforcing the lockdown in the city.
The current count of COVID19 patients in the state of Maharashtra is 39297. Today,newly 2250 patients have been identified as positive. Also newly 679 patients have been cured today,totally 10318 patients are cured & discharged from the hospitals. Total Active patients are 27581.— Rajesh Tope (@rajeshtope11) May 20, 2020
Cab aggregator Ola fires 1,400 people
Cab aggregator Ola has become the latest startup to trim its workforce, letting go of 1,400 employees or about 25% of total headcount. (Read more)
Nasscom sees a silver lining for the IT services sector in the Covid-19 crisis
IT services industry lobby Nasscom sees several challenges and opportunities ahead for the sector as the industry gets back to working out of offices in a phased manner. (Details).
Domestic flights to resume operations from May 25
Union minister for civil aviation Hardeep Singh Puri said that domestic flights will resume operations from May 25 in a calibrated manner. Airports and airline carriers have been informed of the decision, said the minister. Standard Operating Procedures for passenger movement will be released by the government for the same. Domestic air transport was suspended from March 24 after the announcement of the Covid-19 related national lockdown.
Domestic civil aviation operations will recommence in a calibrated manner from Monday 25th May 2020.— Hardeep Singh Puri (@HardeepSPuri) May 20, 2020
All airports & air carriers are being informed to be ready for operations from 25th May.
SOPs for passenger movement are also being separately issued by @MoCA_GoI.
Over 25 lakh Covid-19 tests conducted in India so far, HCQ still being tested as Prophylactic : ICMR
The Indian Council of Medical Research today said that 25.36 lakh Covid-19 tests have been conducted so far in the country of which over 1 lakh were conducted in the last two days. The total number of testing labs stand at 555, including both ICMR network labs and private facilities. The apex body is still studying the use of Hydroxychloroquine as a prophylactic to combat Covid-19.
India fared better than the world average in the number of Covid-19 related deaths and cases : MoHFW
In its daily Covid-19 related press briefing by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, joint secretary Lav Agarwal said that compared to the world average of 62 Covid-19 cases per lakh of population, India had only 7.9 cases. He added that the country also fared better than the number of Covid-19 related deaths, where the world average if 4.2 deaths per lakh of population, whereas in India it stands at 0.2. At present, 42,298 Covid-19 cases have recovered and the total active cases stand at 61,149 as on date. A briefing on the Covid-19 situation of the country was last held on May 11 by MoHFW.
Government relaxes lockdown rules to allow board exams
The Ministry of Home Affairs has said that examinations for 10th and 12th class students will be allowed to be conducted across the country, provided conditions such as social distancing, face masks and other safety measures are looked after.
Taking into consideration the academic interest of large number of students, it has been decided to grant exemption from the lockdown measures to conduct Board examination for classes 10th & 12th, with few conditions like social distancing, face mask etc, for their safety. pic.twitter.com/P4ULsmbPVv— Amit Shah (@AmitShah) May 20, 2020
Sensex rallies over 600 points
The Sensex ended in the green by over 600 points for the second consecutive day, after falling over 1000 points on Monday. The Sensex surged 2.06% or 622 points and ended at 30818. The Nifty was up by 187 points or 2.11% at 9066.
Top gainers were the HDFC twins, Tata Steel, Bajaj Finance and Sun Pharma.
Ministry of Finance releases Rs.5005 crore as 1st installment of united basic grants
The Ministry of Finance has released Rs 5005.25 cr as 1st installment of untied basic grants to 28 states. The fund is currently pending finalisation of the operational guidelines and would provide the states with financial resources during this critical time, said Finance Minster Nirmala Sitharaman in a tweet.
The Ministry of Finance has released Rs 5005.25 cr as 1st installment of untied basic grants ‘in advance’ for Non-Million-plus cities to 28 states, pending finalisation of the operational guidelines. This would provide the states with vital financial resources at a critical time. pic.twitter.com/OCGvvNHirW— NSitharamanOffice (@nsitharamanoffc) May 20, 2020
Twitter-backed Sharechat lays off 101 people
ShareChat said on Wednesday it laid off 101 employees, as the vernacular social media platform joins firms that are cutting costs in a Covid-19 hit business climate. (Details)
Tuberculosis diagnosis machines can be used to screen Covid-19 : ICMR
The Indian Council for Medical Research has said that the diagnostic machines that are used for testing drug-resistant tuberculosis will now be used for screen and confirmation of Covid-19 cases.
Nasscom paints a grim future for B2C tech startups
About 60% of business-to-consumer technology startups face business closure, while about 40% have temporarily halted operations or closed business in the world’s third-largest technology startup ecosystem, according to a survey by software services industry lobby Nasscom. (More details)
Health minister Harsh Vardhan to take charge of WHO’s executive board on May 22
Union health minister Harsh Vardhan will take charge as the Chairman of the World Health Organization’s executive board on May 22. He will succeed Hiroki Nakatani of Japan, who is the current chairman of the WHO Executive board that consists of 34 members.
Uber, Livspace cut jobs as WeWork India ‘realigns team’ to deal with Covid-19 impact
Many emerging technology companies have resorted to layoffs, furloughs and ‘realignment of teams’ to cut costs owing to the impact of Covid-19.
The latest companies to follow the trend are ride hailing company Uber, interior design marketplace Livspace and shared office space provider WeWork India -- all of which have witnessed significant reduction in demand for their primary product offerings.
Read the complete report here.
Sensex, Nifty open in green
The market indices opened on a positive note on Wednesday as the Sensex was up by 208 points or 0.69% at 30405 at 9:27 am. The Nifty was also trading in the green at 8950, a 0.80% or 71 points increase from the previous close.
Icertis commits Rs.15 lakh to Haffkine Institute for Covid-19 testing
US based cloud enterprise contact management startup Icerits has pledged Rs.15 lakh to Mumbai’s Haffkine Institue in testing an anti-tuberculosis vaccine as a potential treatment for COVID-19. The contribution will cover insurance and costs of drug supplies towards testing the Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccine as a means to neutralize the effects of COVID-19.
Single biggest daily spike in Covid-19 at 5611 cases and 140 deaths
India reported its single biggest daily spike in Covid 19 cases at 5611 with 140 deaths in the past 24 hours.The total number of Covid-19 cases in the country were at 106750, according to the 8 am update by the MoHFW. India currently has 61149 active and 42297 recovered patients while the number of deceased was at 3303.
Uber, WeWork, Livspace among latest startups to lay off people
As several emerging technology-enabled businesses reel under challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, companies have resorted to layoffs and furloughs to cut costs. The latest companies to follow the trend are ride hailing company Uber, interior design marketplace Livspace and shared office space provider WeWork India. (Full Story)
Snapdeal resumes operations at all pre-Covid-19 locations
Ecommerce platform Snapdeal has re-started service to all the areas it was serving before the Covid-19 outbreak. It has started operations in red, orange and green zones, except the containment areas, which are still off-limits for ecommerce companies.
India equity markets close higher despite intra-day volatility
Benchmark indices managed to finish higher on Tuesday although they shed most of their gains made early during the day with BSE Sensex ending 167.19 points or 0.56% higher at 30196.17 while the Nifty 50 ended at 8879.10 up 55.85 points or 0.63%. Among individual stocks telecom major Bharti Airtel was the top gainer, as it ended 11% higher than previous close followed by Adani Ports and Special Economic Zones, Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) and Bharti Infratel.
Home ministry issues directions to state, local authorities for migrants’ safety
The Ministry of Home Affairs, in a communication issued earlier today, has directed the state government and district authorities to ensure that no migrant worker has to resort to walking on roads or railway tracks to reach their hometowns. The central ministry has called upon the states to ask for more special trains from the Ministry of Railways, increasing the frequency of buses, allowing inter-state entry of buses carrying migrants.
The ministry has also asked the state government to give more clarity on trains and buses schedules, arrangement of rest places, and guide workers moving on foot to designated rest places, nearby bus terminals or railway stations by arranging transportation.
Qualcomm’s India unit commits $1.5 mn for efforts to tackle Covid-19 pandemic
The India unit of San Diego-based technology company Qualcomm has committed a financial aid of $1.5 million to curb the spread of Covid-19. The contribution will be made to PM Cares Fund, and other multiple relief and public healthcare infrastructure initiatives.
The public healthcare infrastructure efforts include enabling more availability of Covid-19 test kits, preventive health screening, aiding police and healthcare workers with personal protective equipment and feeding the needy and at-risk in various regions in India.
Qualcomm India has also committed to match employees’ personal donations towards Covid-19 relief funds, with a matching contribution to the PM Cares Fund through its charitable match program.
TCS’ education unit launches solution to conduct remote exams
Tata Consultancy Services (TCS)-owned TCS iON, the division which provides digital solutions to educational institutes has launched a platform that allows universities and boards to conduct remote examinations.
Dubbed as ‘Remote Assessments’, the solution will enable students to appear for exams from home. To ensure fair exams, the platform locks down the candidate’s device and merely captures student responses. It also uses camera of the device and sends a video stream to a central server on the cloud for monitoring the candidates and also allows live invigilation.
Nano-tech startup Log9 ties-up with IISc for CoronaOven project
Nanotechnology start-up Log 9 Materials, which in April developed CoronaOven, a disinfection chamber that kills bacteria and viruses on objects using ultraviolet light, has tied up with Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru to carry out further research and optimisation for product. The CoronaOven can be used to disinfect household and grocery items.
CoronaOven is a patent-pending technology which uses ultraviolet rays that can kill all types of viruses and pathogens in 10 minutes after placing the object in the disinfection chamber.
US fintech Better.com to step-up hiring in India amid Covid-19 crisis
New York headquartered online mortgage platform Better.com has plans to hire an additional 300 staffers in Gurgaon, India, in the coming quarter. Since Covid-19 spread in India, the fintech has already on-boarded 150 new hires in India and taking total hires in the country to 350.
The company also has plans to hire 1,000 employees in the US in 2020, and has targeted laid-off hospitality workers in the vicinity of its headquarters. Better.com claims that it saw a 200% increase in home loan applications since pandemic began and has disbursed loans of up to $2.4 billion in loans in April and March.
Ecommerce major Flipkart to source essentials from Vishal Mega Mart stores
Walmart-owned ecommerce firm Flipkart has tied up with offline retail store Vishal Mega Mart to source essential goods from its stores. Flipkart will collect the products from the nearest Vishal store and deliver them to customer locations.
The partnership is operational in 26 cities including Delhi-NCR, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Kanpur, Indore, Gwalior, Bhubaneswar and Goa for now. It will later be extended to all 365 stores across 240 cities in the next four weeks.
Telephony Covid-19 helpline Project StepOne to supplement Aarogya Setu services
Project StepOne, a telemedicine collective, is included as an ancillary service in the government-developed Aarogya Setu app in mitigating Covid-19 spread. Project StepOne is supported by Action for Covid Team (ACT) fund and is run by volunteer doctors and 21 startups in seven states. The platform has attended over a million calls and 3,000 high risk cases are identified. Technology startup Freshworks is enrolling doctors on behalf of StepOne and provided healthcare bots which are able to converse in four vernacular languages at the first level of screening.
Alibaba guides Indian MSMEs to steer away from Covid-19 impact on business
Business-to-business (B2B) ecommerce platform Alibaba has conducted an online summit for micro, small & medium enterprises (MSMEs) to guide them to withstand the effects of current global economic recession induced by the Covid-19 pandemic and develop a long term sustainable business model.
Dubbed as ‘Go Global 2020 – Make in India, Sell Globally’, Alibaba offered membership packages for MSMEs and digital solutions including artificial intelligence (AI)-powered tools to have a global reach. Over 2,200 export-focused businesses participated in the programme, which was addressed by several global and local industry experts.
Telephony Covid-19 helpline Project StepOne to supplement Aarogya Setu services
Project StepOne, a telemedicine collective, is included as an ancillary service in the government-developed Aarogya Setu app in mitigating Covid-19 spread. Project StepOne is supported by Action for Covid Team (ACT) fund and is run by volunteer doctors and 21 startups in seven states. The platform has attended over a million calls and identified 3,000 high risk cases. Technology startup Freshworks is enrolling doctors on behalf of StepOne and providing healthcare bots which are able to converse in four vernacular languages at the first level of screening.
Cab aggregators Ola, Uber resume operations
ANI Technologies, which owns Ola, has now expanded its operations to over 160 cities, according to a statement. In a separate statement, San Francisco, California-based Uber announced “go online checklists” for both riders and drivers. The service is now available in 34 cities. (Details)
Ozonetel launches virtual phone number solution for doctors
Cloud communication and telecom solutions provider Ozonetel has launched CloudAgent Lite, a solution for doctors with a dedicated virtual phone number for tele-consultation. Using the service, doctors avoid making their personal phone numbers public and can connect easily with their patients.
Sensex gains over 200 points, Nifty near 8900 during opening
The Sensex and the Nifty were trading higher on Tuesday with the Nifty trading near 8900 mark.At 9:37 am IST the Sensex was at 30319.54, up by 276.72 points or 0.92%. Meanwhile Nifty was up by 0.64% or 257 points and was at 8879.75.
Total number of Covid-19 cases breaches 1 lakh mark in India
The total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in India stood at 101,138 as of 8 AM on May 19, 2020, according to MoHFW. The tally includes 58,802 active cases, 39,179 people who have been cured/discharged and 3,163 fatalities. Among states, Maharashtra added 2,033 new cases on Monday, 51 fresh deaths taking the total tally to 35,058.
Swiggy to lay off 1,100 employees
Online food delivery unicorn Swiggy is laying off 1,100 employees owing to the effects of the Covid-19 crisis on the company’s core business. The company said that the affected employees will receive three months’ salary, an extra month of ex-gratia and medical and accident coverage till the end of the year.
Delhi opens up public transport, offices in Lockdown 4
Public transport, offices, industries, construction and market associations have been given the go-ahead to remain open during Lockdown 4. Chief minister Arvind Kejriwal said that auto-rickshaws,buses and cab aggregators can operate in the capital with restrictions on the number of passengers. Offices have been allowed to reopen, though the management has been asked to accommodate staff to work remotely. Industries have been asked to work on staggered timings and construction work can resume but is not permitted to hire workers from other states. These rules do not apply to containment zones.
ICMR releases revised strategy for Covid-19 testing
The Indian Council for Medical Research has released a revised strategy for Covid-19 testing. The new testing rules will encompass testing all symptomatic individuals with a history of International travel in the last 14 days. Whereas asymptomatic direct and high-risk contacts of a confirmed case will be tested once between day 5 and day 10 of coming in contact with the positive patient.
Fashion platform LimeRoad resumes deliveries
New Delhi based online fashion platform LimeRoad has resumed operations and will now deliver products in the lifestyle and fashion range to customers living in the orange and green zones in India. The company said that it is activating deep supply networks as it expects a surge in demand.
Stimulus package disappoints Dalal Street, Sensex tumbles 1068 points
The market indices bled red as the stimulus package announced by FM Nirmala Sitharaman failed to enthuse the stock markets. Sensex lost over 1000 points as it ended 3.44% lower at 30029, the Nifty also lost 313 points and ended at 8823, 3.43% lower than yesterday’s close.
Oppo suspends operations in Noida after 6 employees test Covid-19 positive
Operations in Chinese phone maker Oppo’s factory in Greater Noida was suspended after six of the company’s employees were tested positive for Covid-19, its officials said on Monday. Company officials said that they will not resume operations until more than 3000 of its workers were tested for Covid-19.
Airtel targets enterprises, launches work@home solutions
Airtel Business has launched connectivity options for enterprises looking for solutions for their work from home employees. The work@home range will include wired & wireless solutions, immersive collaboration tools, and security solutions. The offering will cover 4G, FTTH broadband, MPLS and VPN for secure remote access, as well as call centre backup and fault resolution teams for assistance.
Lockdown 4.0 eases restrictions
- States will decide Green, red and orange zones
- Flights, metro rail services will be suspended, while inter, intra state movement of buses is allowed
- E-commerce companies will now be allowed to deliver non-essentials, except in containment zones
- Government is expected to take a decision soon on the OCI visa issue
Markets open on a positive note
The market indices were in the green in the pre-trading session on Monday. At 9:10 am the Sensex opened 150 points higher at 31,248, an increase of 0.46%, while the Nifty was in the green by 0.23% with a jump of 21.45 points at 9158.
India inches closer towards 1 lakh cases as govt. announces relaxed lockdown 4.0
The number of cases in India were at 96169, with 56316 active cases and 3029 deceased, even as lockdown 4.0 with relaxed restrictions was announced by the Centre. The lockdown will officially extend for two more weeks till May 31st.
India inches closer towards 1 lakh cases as govt. announces relaxed lockdown 4.0
The number of cases in India were at 96169, with 56316 active cases and 3029 deceased, even as lockdown 4.0 with relaxed restrictions was announced by the Centre. The lockdown will officially extend for two more weeks till May 31st.
Tech Mahindra to research on potential Covid-19 drugs using AI
Makers Lab, the R&D arm of Tech Mahindra said that it will utilize artificial intelligence to research on potential therapeutic drugs for Covid-19. The company will conduct molecular docking studies of 19 Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved ligands and anti-viral drugs.
Amendment to Essential Commodities Act, agricultural marketing reforms on the anvil: FM
As part of the announcements on economic stimulus package 2.0, Nirmala Sitharaman also said that the government will soon amend the Essential Commodities Act, 1955 to deregulate stock limitations on certain categories. Other governance measures include agricultural marketing reforms including an e-trading route for farmers to sell their produce.
Agriculture and allied sectors focus of today’s economic stimulus package announcement
The finance minister today announced financing schemes for agricultural and allied sectors including infrastructure facilities and sale of farm produce, dairy, fisheries and beekeeping. Financing facility of Rs 1 lakh crore for agriculture infrastructure projects at farm gate and aggregation points was announced as part of the economic stimulus package 2.0.
Nifty, Sensex end flat
The markets almost ended flat on Friday with the Sensex ending 25 points or 0.08% lower at 31097. The Nifty was down by 6 points at 9136.
Some of the top gainers for the day were Asian Paints, Bharti Airtel, Tata steel and Hindustan Unilever while the laggards were Axis Bank, IndusInd Bank, Sun Pharmaceuticals and Hero MotoCorp.
Karnataka announces third economic package of Rs. 512 crore
The Karnataka government has announced its third economic package of Rs. 512 crore. The package is expected to provide Rs.5000 to close to 10 lakh maize farmers, while (Accredited Social Health Activists) will be given Rs.3000 each through cooperative institutions, according to Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa.
Maharashtra sets up state and district level committees for better coordination on Covid-19 cases
For better coordination between private and public hospitals addressing Covid-19 cases, the state government of Maharashtra has announced setting up committees at the state and district level for coordination.
Standard Chartered donates Rs. 3.4 crores towards research and relief for Covid-19
Standard Chartered Global Business Services Pvt Ltd (GBS) has donated INR 3.4 crores to support the fight against COVID-19 virus in India. The funds will be utilised to develop testing reagents, provide protective sets, test kits, meals and essentials to vulnerable groups
Paytm Payments Bank to deliver cash at home to senior citizens in Delhi
Paytm Payments Bank will deliver cash at home to senior citizens in Delhi NCR. A minimum of Rs.100 and a maximum of Rs.5000 can be requested through the bank’s application for home delivery.
Startup develops daily use tool that avoids finger touch
Kochi based startup SectorQube has launched a keychain shaped CoGun that aids people in routine functions such as pushing the door-handle, pressing the ATM buttons, operating a lift or water tap. The CoGun is priced at Rs.150 and has already received bulk orders totaling 40,000 from Ireland, UK and UAE.
Finance minister to hold Press Conference at 4 pm
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will hold her third press conference in as many days today at 4:00 pm in New Delhi. The minister is expected to announce more details on the 20 lakh crore economic revival package for the country.
World Bank approves additional $1billion in aid to India
The World Bank has approved $1 billion in aid to support India's fight against Covid-19.
This is in addition to the $ 1 billion previously approved by the bank in early April.
Centre allows buses to ply for last mile transport of passengers
The Indian government has allowed the hiring of special buses by states and union territories to ferry passengers arriving at railway stations through Shramik trains.
New York Stock Exchange to partially reopen
The New York Stock Exchange will partially reopen its trading floor on May 26. The exchange was closed in late March owing to the alarming surge of Covid-19 cases in the city.
Facebook launches Zoom like feature with messenger Rooms
Facebook has globally launched its new group video chat service ‘Messenger Rooms’, which can support a maximum of 50 participants in each call. Facebook will allow users to join into the new Messenger Rooms through Instagram messages, WhatsApp and its hardware smart display range Portal.
Global economic loss could be $5.8-$8.8 trillion: Asian Development Bank
The Asian Development Bank has pegged the global economic losses due to Covid-19 between $5.8 trillion and $8.8 trillion this year.
The numbers have doubled since the ADB’s earlier prediction in April where it said the world economy could suffer between $2 trillion and $4.1 trillion in losses.
10 lakh passengers ferried in trains since May 1st
The Ministry of Railways has said that close to 10 lakh passengers have been carried to their home state on 800 special Shramik trains since May 1st
China marks one month without Covid-19 deaths
The National Health commission of China has said that it has touched a month without any deaths from Covid-19, its last reported death was on April 14th. The country currently has less than 100 patients who are undergoing treatment for the disease, with 623 under isolation.
Sensex 200 points lower in pre-trading session
The second day of announcements on the economic package by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on May 14th did not excite the markets as the Sensex was lower by 0.67% or 208 points at 30,914 at 9:20 am. The nifty was also in the red by 0.47% as it traded 43.25 points lower at 9099.
Covid-19 cases at 81970
The total number of Covid-19 cases in the country has touched 81970, according to the 8:00 am update by the MoHFW. While 51401 are active carriers of the virus, 27919 have recovered while the no of deceased were at 2649.
Amazon claims 100 changes for a safer workplace
Amazon India on Wednesday said it has made about 100 changes in its operations to ensure a safe workplace for its on-ground workers with social distancing norms. The safety reassurance comes at a time when its parent holding is under scrutiny in the US. (Details)
Michael & Susan Dell Foundation to join ‘Road to Recovery’
The Michael & Susan Dell Foundation in India has announced its support to the Road to Recovery initiative formed by a coalition of funders to stabilise small businesses, micro entrepreneurs and gig workers. The foundation is working with the Global Alliance for the Mass Entrepreneurship and Impact Investors Council to help seed two funds - a Covid-19 Sustenance Fund and a COVID-19 Liquidity Fund, it said in a statement.
Market end in red; Sensex and Nifty end 2.5% lower
Benchmark indices erased Wednesday gains at the end of the trading session today. Sensex slumped 886 points and Nifty ended below 9,150. IT stocks were the major drags of the market. Tech Mahindra and Infosys fell by 5%.
Uber steps up safety standards; distributes PPE kits
Ride hailing major Uber has stepped up its safety standards for riders and drivers during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, it said in a statement. The company added that it has launched a comprehensive set of measures, ramped up the distribution of millions of PPE kits to drivers and introduced safety awareness education video courses for them.
Zomato Gold Fund lends support to more than 3100 restaurant workers
Online food delivery platform and restaurant aggregator Zomato has collected Rs 2.64 crore under its Zomato Gold Support Fund initiative to help the restaurant community. In a tweet, Zomato founder Deepinder Goyal said that the company has helped more than 3,100 restaurant workers.
Update on the Zomato Gold Support Fund–— Deepinder Goyal (@deepigoyal) May 14, 2020
We are thankful for the response we received – we collected ?2.64 cr thanks to more than 26,000 generous contributors. All funds have been disbursed and the fund has helped more than 3,100 restaurant workers across 378 restaurants. [1/n]
Delhi to submit proposal for relaxation to PM during Lockdown 4 today
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal said that a proposal on relaxations for Lockdown 4 will be submitted to the PM today. The proposal will take into account over 5 lakh suggestions submitted by the public over WhatsApp, email and over phone. These include suggestions to open up public transport, restaurants and markets.
Highest single day spike in Covid-19 cases in Delhi with 472 fresh cases
Indian Railways cancels all trains till June 30, to only run special trains
All tickets booked for passenger trains for travel till June 30 will get cancelled, barring the Special services till further notice, the railway ministry said. All tickets booked for these cancelled trains will be fully refunded, the ministry added.
PM CARES releases Rs 3,100 crore for migrants, vaccines and ventilators
The PM CARES Fund will allocate Rs 3,100 crore to Covid-19 relief, including funds for ventilators, migrant workers and vaccine development, according to an official statement from the Prime Minister's Office. This is the first allocation announced from the fund which was set up on March 27.
Gartner revises IT spending prediction for 2020, expects 8% decline now
Companies across the world will cut expenditure on information technology (IT) by 8% in 2020, with the overall IT budget expected to fall to $3.4 trillion, due to the Covid-19 crisis, according to technology research firm Gartner. In January, the firm had projected that IT spending would grow to $3.9 trillion globally in 2020. (Full story)
After Twitter, Unacademy allows permanent work from home for 60% employees
Online test preparation platform Unacademy, will allow 60% of its workforce to continue to work remotely after the Covid-19 lockdown is lifted as well, the company tweeted. The company already has more than 1,000 educators working from home. (Full story)
We are bringing some major changes to the way we work.— Unacademy (@unacademy) May 13, 2020
Even post the lockdown, 60% of our entire workforce will be working from home permanently.
LinkedIn launches virtual events to connect communities online
Professional networking site LinkedIn has launched a virtual events solution, a tighter integration between LinkedIn Live and LinkedIn Events, to enable companies to stay connected and strengthen relationships with their online communities in real time, the company said in a statement. Using LinkedIn Live, companies can now host virtual events by streaming live to event attendees.
Market opens on a weak note despite economic package announcement
Benchmark indices open over 1% lower. While Sensex slipped 500 points, Nifty tanked below 9,250 despite FM’s relief measures announcement. All major sectors turned red with IT falling the most.
Total number of Covid-19 cases nearing 80K mark
The total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in India stood at 78,003 as on May 14 at 8 AM, according to MoHFW. The tally includes 49,219 active cases, 26,234 people who have been cured/discharged and 2,549 fatalities.
DST unveils assistive tools, technologies for disabled, elderly
The Department of Science and Technology, a subset of the Ministry of Science and Technology, has supported the development of devices such as a wearable sensor and a wearable rehabilitation band to meet the needs of the disabled and elderly population in a Covid-19 stricken environment. Furthermore, it is also working on development of apps for recognition of objects, distances, scene recognition, people identification which will eliminate the need to touch things and various other assistive devices like automatic hand sanitization scrub for the disabled.
Major chunk of Unacademy staff to work remotely permanently
A majority 60% of the workforce at online test preparation startup Unacademy will work remotely on a permanent basis even after Covid-19 lockdown is lifted, according to a tweet from the official handle.
We are bringing some major changes to the way we work.— Unacademy (@unacademy) May 13, 2020
Even post the lockdown, 60% of our entire workforce will be working from home permanently.
FinMin unveils special liquidity scheme for NBFCs, extends PCGS
The union finance ministry on Wednesday launched a special liquidity scheme worth Rs 30,000 crore for NBFCs, HFCs and MFIs that are finding it difficult to raise money in debt markets. Under the scheme, investment will be made in both primary and secondary market transactions in investment grade papers of the entities. Separately, with a corpus of Rs 45,000 crore, an existing ‘Partial Credit Guarantee Scheme’ has been extended to cover borrowings such as primary issuance of bonds, commercial papers (liability side of balance sheets), to help NFCs, HFCs and MFIs with low credit rating. First 20% of the loss will be borne by the government. AA paper and below including unrated paper will be eligible for the investment.
Finance Ministry unveils 'Fund of Funds' for MSMEs
The centre has announced an equity infusion worth Rs 50,000 crore for MSMEs through ‘Fund of Funds’ that will be operated through a Mother Fund and few daughter funds. The move is aimed to help MSMEs to expand their capacity and to get listed on markets of choice.
Rs 50,000 cr. Equity infusion for MSMEs through Fund of Funds; to be operated through a Mother Fund and few daughter funds; this will help to expand MSME size as well as capacity. #AtmaNirbharBharatAbhiyan #atmanirbharbharat pic.twitter.com/Y5FMC4TouI— PIB India #StayHome #StaySafe (@PIB_India) May 13, 2020
Red Zones should be limited to wards and not Districts: IAMAI
The demarcation under the fourth phase of the nationwide lockdown should be based on wards in municipal areas and not whole districts, internet and telecom players lobby group IAMAI said in a statement on Wednesday. The statement said that restrictions at district level are too broad a canvas that severely hinders economic revival.
Sensex, Nifty end trade at 2% high with trim in prior gains
Equity indices ended on a positive note with benchmarks BSE Sensex and NSE Nifty 50 ending trade in green on Wednesday afternoon. However the gains were pared by about half of the morning’s 4% rise. The Sensex last traded at 32,008.61 levels, up 2.03%, while the Nifty 50 ended at 9,383.55, up 2.03%
PM Modi to chair a meet with empowered groups
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will chair a meeting with chairpersons of the empowered groups to discuss the modalities of the fourth nationwide lockdown in India.
PlanetSpark pledges to upskill 1 Lakh children for free
Gurugram-based edtech startup PlanetSpark on Wednesday said it has pledged to upskill 1 lakh children of ‘corona warriors’ at zero fee, to help them develop career and life-skills. The courses in offering include Communication Skills, Reading and Writing, Mental Maths and Coding.
BRICS' NDB provides $1 bn loan to India
The New Development Bank, formerly referred to as the BRICS Development Bank, has fully disbursed an ‘Emergency Assistance Program’ loan of $1 billion to India. The programme is aimed at supporting the Indian government in its efforts to contain the spread of Covid-19 and reduce human, social and economic losses caused by the outbreak. NDB is a multilateral development bank established by the BRICS states.
NDB fully disbursed USD 1 billion Emergency Assistance Program Loan to India. The Program is aimed at supporting the Government of India in its efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19 and reduce human, social and economic losses caused by the outbreak https://t.co/koJlthk2n2 pic.twitter.com/1AACZhGyia— New Development Bank (@NDB_int) May 13, 2020
Indians to fly back from the US on 7 flights starting May 19
India will launch the second phase of 'Vande Bharat Mission' from the United States on May 19 under which Air India will operate seven flights to bring Indians back from the United States. The flights will be a repeat of the same cities as in the first phase, with flights originating from San Francisco, Washington DC, Chicago and New York.
Twitter tells employees they can work from home ‘forever’
Microblogging platform Twitter said its employees can work from home forever if they want to, according to multiple US media reports. In an internal memo to employees, first accessed by BuzzFeed News, CEO Jack Dorsey said the company wouldn't likely return to its offices before September, and even after lockdown measures end, employees could continue work from home if they want.
Finance minister to announce details of economic stimulus 2.0
Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman is expected to announce the details of the second economic package in a press briefing at 4 PM today. This comes a day after the Prime Minister announced an economic stimulus package focused on manufacturing, small industries as well as workers in the organised and unorganised sectors in view of the national lockdown related to Covid-19 pandemic. The Fm had already announced a stimulus package of Rs 1.7 lakh crore in direct cash transfers and free ration.
Aarogya Setu records 100 mn usersbase
Contact tracing app Aarogya Setu, created to track the Covid-19 spread in India, has recorded a 100 million users, according to a tweet from the app’s official Twitter handle. The Indian Railways on Tuesday said it was mandatory for those travelling via the 15 special trains to download the app. Separately, the government also made it mandatory for usage by private and public office employees.
Markets open in green
Equity indices started on a positive note with benchmarks BSE Sensex and NSE Nifty 50 trading in green on Wednesday morning, after a night when Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a stimulus package worth Rs 20 lakh crore. The Sensex opened 1,470.75 points, up 4.69%, while the Nifty 50 started at 9,584.20, up 4.22% from the previous close.
Total number of Covid-19 cases more than doubles since April end
The total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in India stood at 74,281 as on May 12 at 8 AM, according to MoHFW. The tally includes 47,480 active cases, 24,385 people who have been cured/discharged and 2,415 fatalities. The cases have more than doubled since April 30.
Lockdown 4 will have all new guidelines, details of which will be announced before May 18: PM
The Prime Minister on Tuesday hinted at 'new guidelines' on national lockdown, hinting at partial relaxation during Lockdown 4. The details on this phase of national lockdown in view of Covid-19 pandemic will be issued before May 18. During his address to nation, he further added that the decision is based on feedback received from state representatives.
PM announces economic package of Rs 20 lakh crore
PM Modi announces economic package for economic relief from the national lockdown due to Covid-19 pandemic. Overall allocation for economic relief amounts to 10% of India’s GDP at Rs 20 lakh crore. The economic package includes consideration for land, labour, liquidity and law. The finance minister will list out the details of the economic package in the coming days.
Economic package to cover organised and unorganised sectors, with focus on MSMEs: PM
The Rs 20 lakh crore package announced by the Prime Minister includes liquidity measures announced by the RBI and the first announcement on economic relief package announced on March 24. It will cover benefits for MSMEs, manufacturing sector, supply chain, as well as workers, farmers, fishermen, migrants and others in the organised and unorganised sectors.
India witnessed 9,100 Covid-19 themed cyberattacks between Feb-May: Microsoft
Cybercrooks are using Covid-19 to make ransomware and phishing attacks on people, and over 9,000 coronavirus-themed attacks were noticed in India between February 2 and May 2, according to tech giant Microsoft. The company said that India witnessed these attacks between February 2 and May 2.
US’ CDC releases $3.6 million to India for fighting Covid-19
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has committed $3.6 million to assist India’s combat Covid-19 epidemic. "These resources will support prevention, preparedness, and response activities in India. This initial tranche of funding will seek to further strengthen and support the Government of India's efforts to increase laboratory capacity for SARS-COV-2 testing, including molecular diagnostics and serology," US Embassy in India said in a release.
Maharashtra govt allows home delivery of liquor
The Maharashtra government has allowed home delivery of alcohol with conditions. Guidelines issued by the government said that the home delivery should be carried out by liquor shops to only those who have a permit.
Sensex, Nifty narrow losses at close of trading
Benchmark indices managed good recovery towards the end of the trading session. Sensex ended down over 190 points to close at 31371.12 and Nifty slipped 43 points to end at 9196.55.
Data collected by Aarogya Setu app will be deleted after 180 days: MeitY
Altimetrik India staffers contribute to Vattikuti Foundation’s Covid-19 donation pledge
US-based business and IT transformation company Altimetrik’s India employees have donated money as part of the firm’s pledge to raise $1 million funds for Covid-19, the company said in a statement. Altimetrik and the Vattikuti Foundation will match the staff contribution to support Covid-19 warriors in India, US and Uruguay. Contrary to trends, Altimetrik is also on track to hire 150 scrum specialists over the next few months, the statement added.
Centre grants Rs 6,195 crore to help states
The Finance Ministry has released Rs 6,195.08 crore to 14 states as the second equated monthly installment of the post devolution revenue deficit grant. This included Rs 1,276.91 crore to Kerala, Rs 638 crore to Punjab, and Rs 417.75 crore to West Bengal.
The government on May 11, 2020 released Rs 6,195.08 crore to 14 states as the second equated monthly installment of the Post Devolution Revenue Deficit Grant as recommended by the 15th Finance Commission. This would provide them additional resources during the Corona crisis. pic.twitter.com/9W9kUorB62— NSitharamanOffice (@nsitharamanoffc) May 11, 2020
Microsoft rolls out new app to manage kids screen time
Technology giant Microsoft has launched a new app called Family Safety for preview, to help parents manage their kids screen time and app usage. The company made this announcement in March and has started rolling out the launch now.
Market opens lower on the fear of lockdown extension
Benchmark indices opened on a weak note today on fresh Covid-19 concerns. Sensex fell over 350 points and Nifty slipped below 9150.
Total number of Covid-19 cases cross 70k mark
The total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in India stood at 70,756 as of 8 AM on May 12, 2020, according to MoHFW. The tally includes 46,008 active cases, 22454 people who have been cured/discharged and 2,293 fatalities.
Tamil Nadu reports 798 new cases, tally crosses 8000
Tamil Nadu has reported 798 new cases in the past 24 hours with a total number at 8002. 5990 are active carriers while 1959 have recovered and 53 are deceased.
Chennai had 3834 cases with 3168 being active. The state has conducted a total of 2,43,000 tests as of May 10, according to the state’s Health and Family Welfare Department.
Delhi at 7233 cases, total number of tests inch towards 1 lakh
There were 5031 active Covid 19 cases, with 2129 recovered and 73 deceased as of May 11th at 8 am. The mortality rate was at 1% with 310 new cases reported in the past day. Central Delhi, South East Delhi and West Delhi were the worst affected. There were a total of 97,678 tests carried out in the state as per Delhi’s official Covid-19 page.
Kerala’s recovery rate at 94.04%
On May 11th Kerala registered 7 new cases of Covid 19 with a total of 520 cases. The number of active cases were at 27 and 489 have been discharged, giving it a recovery rate of 94%. Kasaragod with the highest number of total cases at 183 reported 4 new positive patients.
States ask for relaxation, authority to determine red zones in meeting with PM
In the fifth meeting between chief ministers and prime minister Narendra Modi regarding exit strategy from the national lockdown due to Covid-19, CM of Chhattisgarh requested permission from the centre to determine red, orange and green zones on their own. Chief ministers of Telangana and Tamil Nadu asked the PM to not allow air and train travel to the states immediately. Andhra Pradesh CM Jagan Mohan Reddy asked for relaxation from lockdown measures while West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee said that the state was doing its best. Defence minister Rajnath Singh and Home minister Amit Shah also attended the online meeting.
Maharashtra crosses 22,000 cases
Maharashtra has become the first state in the country to cross 22,000 cases. The state also saw a jump of 1165 cases in a single day while reporting 48 deaths. As on May 11th 8 am the state has touched 22171 cases with 4199 discharged and 832 deaths.
No of cases in Karnataka at 862
On May 11th Karnataka had 862 cases of Covid 19 with 404 of them being active carriers. The State has seen a total of 31 deaths so far. Bengaluru Urban, Belagavi and Davangere has the most number of active cases with 79, 76 ad 65 active patients respectively.
New discharge policy issued by MoHFW require one week of home quarantine for mild, moderate cases
The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare issued a revised discharge policy on Friday for confirmed Covid-19 cases admitted in institutional facilities. While mild and moderate cases can be discharged after 10 days and have been asked to stay in home quarantine for seven day, those with severe cases including patients who are immunocompromised will be discharged only after testing negative for infection on RT-PCR test for the disease.
Sensex ends 81 points lower
The indices ended in red owing to profit booking in the last hour.
Sensex was at 31561, down by 81 points at 0.26% while the nifty was down by 12.30 points or 0.13% and closed at 9239. Automotive stocks did well with the market gainers being led by Hero MotoCorp, Tata Motors and Bajaj Auto.
Nykaa donates one day salary towards PM Cares Fund
Cosmetic brand Nykaa has said that 1500 of its employees will donate one day’s salary towards the PM Cares fund.
The company said that it has in total raised close to 1 crore towards the PM cares fund. The company had also previously donated masks and hygiene products to police forces in Mumbai, Delhi, Pune and Bangalore.
Action Covid-19 team and private players to setup covid-19 testing camps in Bengaluru
Housejoy has partnered with Portea Medical, SRL Diagnostics, ApnaComplex, Bangalore Apartment’ federation and Biognosys Technologies to setup Covid-19 testing camps across Bengaluru.
The Action Covid-19 Team, a fund setup by fund managers from Sequioa Captial, Accel, Lightspeed Venture Partners, has granted Rs.100 crore towards the project.
The pilot project is to be implemented in 30 societies for 15 days, and aims to conduct 1200 tests per day on an average.
No increase in lease rent during fiscal 2021 at SEZ units : Ministry of Commerce and Industry
The Ministry of Commerce and Industry today said that Special Economic Zone (SEZ) units will not increase lease rent for the financial year 2020-21. The payment for lease for the first quarter will also be deferred to July 31, 2020 for SEZ units.
There will be no increase in lease rent for the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) units for the financial year 2020-21. Payment of lease rent of 1st quarter is to be deferred up to 31st July 2020 for all SEZ units: Ministry of Commerce and Industry pic.twitter.com/VfTPRZBQ38— ANI (@ANI) May 11, 2020
Standard operating procedures for travel by train, according to MHA
1) Only those with e-tickets can enter railway stations
2) Only asymptomatic travelers to be allowed on trains
3) All passengers to wear face masks and follow strict social distancing protocols
4) All physical counters will be closed, tickets can only be booked online
MHA issues SOPs for Movement of persons by Train:— Spokesperson, Ministry of Home Affairs (@PIBHomeAffairs) May 11, 2020
?Movement of passengers to & fro railway station only on confirmed e-ticket
?Compulsory Medical Screening & only asymptomatic persons to travel
?Strict adherence to Health/hygiene protocols and #SocialDistancing#COVID19 pic.twitter.com/KJUKZXP26P
Delhi government to provide additional Rs.5,000 to construction workers
The Delhi government will provide an additional Rs.5,000 to construction workers in the wake of the extended Covid-19 lockdown. PTI reported that the decision was taken at the meeting of the Construction Workers’ Welfare Board, which has close to 40,000 workers registered under it.
MHA asks states to allow smooth movement of medical professionals
The Ministry of Home Affairs has requested states to ensure smooth movement of vehicles, including inter-state movement of medical professionals, paramedic staff, sanitation personnel and ambulances. Additionally, private clinics and nursing homes will also be allowed to open to facilitate the fight against Covid-19 and other emergencies.
MHA to States:— Spokesperson, Ministry of Home Affairs (@PIBHomeAffairs) May 11, 2020
?Ensure smooth movement, including inter-state, of all medical professionals, paramedic staff, sanitation personnel & ambulances etc.
?Private clinics & nursing homes be allowed to open without hindrances
to facilitate fighting #COVID19 & non-COVID emergencies pic.twitter.com/nZJ9J6FDKD
Close to 600 amazon workers infected with Covid-19: Amazon employee
Jana Jumpp, a 59-year-old Amazon employee who works at a warehouse in Indiana, has alleged that close to 600 Amazon workers in USA have been infected with Covid-19.
Speaking to news channel CBS news, Jumpp said that she came to the number through analyzing automated text messages and robocalls Amazon sends its employees when somebody tests positive and by connecting with co-workers across the country.
Trade Unions appeal to PM to not repeal ‘Inter State Migrant Workmen Act 1979’
Close to ten trade unions have written to the Prime Minister urging the centre to not repeal the ‘ Inter state Migrant Workmen Act of 1979’. The repeal was part of the proposed labour code on safety, health and working conditions 2019, according to a report by times now.
DBT-BIRAC recommends 70 proposals for fighting Covid-19
Government of India’s Department of Biotechnology (DBT) and Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC) has shortlisted 70 proposals from industry and academia for receiving financial support to develop devices, diagnostics, vaccines, therapeutics and other interventions to combat Covid-19. Under its ‘fast track review process’ BIRAC has also created a provision to fund solutions ready for immediate deployment and has backed eight companies to scale up manufacturing.
Government proposes to make Aarogya Setu mandatory for flyers
The Indian government has proposed to make it mandatory for flyers to install Aarogya Setu on their mobile phones. Users who do not self- assess as ‘safe’ on the application will not be allowed to travel, according to a report by Business Standard. If implemented, India will become the second nation in the world after China to make a mobile application compulsory for travel.
DRDO develops gadget and currency note sanitisation chambers to prevent spread of Covid-19
Hyderabad based Research Centre Imarat, a part of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has developed Ultra Violet (UV) based contactless sanitisation cabinets to sanitise mobile phones, iPads, laptops, currency notes, cheque leafs, passbooks, paper etc. It uses 360-degree exposure of UVC light to the objects for sanitisation. The lab has also developed a separate currency sanitising machine using the same technology to speed up the process for disinfection.
Prime minister to hold meeting with chief ministers at 3 pm
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will hold the 5th meeting with the chief ministers of all states at 3 pm on Monday. The meeting is expected to discuss the lockdown 3.0 exit plan, which is to come to an end on May 17th.
PM @narendramodi to hold the 5th meeting via video-conference with state Chief Ministers tomorrow afternoon at 3 PM.— PMO India (@PMOIndia) May 10, 2020
Indian Railways to gradually restart operations from 12th May
The Indian Railways will gradually restart passenger train operations from 12th May, 2020, initially with 15 pairs of trains (30 return journeys).
The trains will begin from New Delhi station and will connect Dibrugarh, Agartala, Howrah, Patna, Bilaspur, Ranchi, Bhubaneswar, Secunderabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Thiruvananthapuram, Madgaon, Mumbai Central, Ahmedabad and Jammu Tawi.
Booking for reservation in these trains will start at 4 pm on 11th May and will be available only on the IRCTC website (https://www.irctc.co.in/)
Sensex, Nifty opens higher
The Sensex and the Nifty were trading higher in the pre-opening session on Monday with the Nifty hovering above the 9300 mark.
At 9:01 am IST the Sensex was at 31800, up by 158 points or 0.50%. Meanwhile the nifty rose by 0.90% or 83 points and was at 9334.
India reports highest single day spike in Covid 19 infections on Monday
India reported its highest single day spike in Covid 19 cases with 4213 new infections reported on Monday. Maharashtra was the most affected with 22171 cases, followed by Gujarat at 8195, Tamil Nadu at 7204 and Delhi at 6923.
Total number of Covid-19 cases inches towards 70k in India
The total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in India stood at 67,152 as of 8 AM on May 11, 2020, according to MoHFW. The tally includes 44,029 active cases, 20916 people who have been cured/discharged and 2,206 fatalities.
Maharashtra government to pay for train tickets of workers
Maharashtra will pay the ticket fees for workers returning to their home states as well as those heading back to Maharashtra, The Chief Minister’s office tweeted on Sunday night.
The funding from the state’s Chief Minister’s Assistance Fund will be utilized in this regard.
??????????? ???? ????????? ??????? ???? ???? ???? ?????????????? ???? ??? ????????? ??? ????. ???????????? ?????? ????????? ????? ?????????? ???? ????? ?? ????? ?????? ???? ??????????? ????? ????????? ????? ????? ??????????? ?????? ??????? ???????? ????? ???????? ?????? ????? ???— CMO Maharashtra (@CMOMaharashtra) May 10, 2020
Drivers’ healthcare benefits should be based on how much they work: Uber
Ride hailing giant Uber’s CEO Dara Khosrowshahi in an interview to CNBC on Friday said that drivers should earn healthcare benefits corresponding with the hours they work and that Uber is prepared to create a system to pay for those benefits. Gig workers such as Uber drivers have been on the frontline workforce in a pandemic-stricken environment, making them vulnerable to the virus without the financial protections that come with the status of a full employee. The CEO’s statement comes at a time when Uber and other gig economy businesses face continued pressure to provide healthcare and other protections for their workers.
Kerala HC seeks govt reply over challenge to Aarogya Setu compulsion
Kerala High Court on Friday asked the Indian government to respond to a writ petition against the latter’s order for mandatory use of contact tracing app Aarogya Setu by public and private sector employees. The petition made by a member of the opposition party Congress, points out that such a directive had violated fundamental rights of the citizen and that there was also a possibility of misuse of the personal information given to the app.
Rupert Murdoch gives up bonus after News Corp post $1 bn loss
News Corp Executive Chairman Rupert Murdoch has given up his cash bonus for the year after the media conglomerate posted a $1 billion quarterly loss in the financial quarter ended March, owing to a write-down in the value of its Australian pay TV unit Foxtel and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on its businesses. CEO Robert Thomson said that the company has taken cost-cutting steps in all its units to limit the hit of the pandemic on its business.
Disclosure: News Corp is the parent entity of Mosaic Digital that publishes TechCircle.
Railways demarcate coaches as Covid-19 care centres
Railways has readied 5,231 special isolation coaches for combating Covid-19 cases. These will be placed at 215 railway stations across 23 states and Union Territories and will ensure separation of suspected and confirmed cases. These facilities will be used to treat mild and very mild cases.
NRAI on look-out for ‘alternative’ online food delivery options
Indian restaurant lobby group NRAI on Friday said that it will develop and identify ‘alternative’ digital platforms that will level the playing field between restaurants and food delivery platforms, at a time when offline food and beverage businesses have been severely impacted from the nationwide lockdown. The solution, it said, will be driven by customer loyalty, omni channel online sales, integrated payment gateways and digitised delivery logistics.
SC asks states to consider home delivery of liquor during lockdown
The Supreme Court on Friday refused to pass an order banning sale of alcohol, but asked states to consider home delivery or indirect sale of liquor, to maintain social distancing during the lockdown. The bench, comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan, Sanjay Kishan Kaul and BR Gavai, was hearing a plea seeking a ban on direct sale of liquor.
"We will not pass any order but the states should consider indirect sale/home delivery of liquor to maintain social distancing norms and standards", Justice Ashok Bhushan, heading the bench said. https://t.co/qCb6B9NMx0— ANI (@ANI) May 8, 2020
Influenza drug approved for clinical trials to cure Covid-19
The Drug Controller General of India has given approval for clinical trials of Favipiravir, a drug used to treat influenza in countries such as China and Japan, according to multiple media reports citing Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) Director General Shekhar Mande. The drug could be potentially useful against Covid-19 and a phytopharmaceutical, which is an extract of a plant.
Dineout extends contactless solutions to shops, airports, hospitals
Times Group-owned online restaurant reservation website Dineout has extended its contactless solutions of pre-ordering and queue management system to grocery stores, wine shops, airport food courts and healthcare management at hospitals, to help the businesses manage social distancing norms at their premises.
YouTube, OML to produce live streaming programme to raise relief effort funds
YouTube, the video service of Alphabet Inc's Google, has partnered with Mumbai-based entertainment and talent services management company OML to produce ‘One Nation,’ a live streaming show comprising YouTube India’s content creators and performers. The initiative is aimed at raising funds for PM CARES, the dedicated national fund created by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the purpose of dealing with any emergency or distress situation in India, such as the one posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.
UK govt makes source code of its Covid-19 contact tracing app public
Moody's sees Indian economic growth at zero in FY21
Moody's Investors Service on Friday said it estimated India's gross domestic product growth to hit 'zero' in the financial year ended March 2021, according to a PTI report on multiple media. The rating agency pointed to a wide fiscal deficit, high government debt, weak social and physical infrastructure, and a fragile financial sector.
1061 personnel of Maharashtra police test positive
1061 personnel of the Maharashtra police, including 112 police officers, have tested positive for COVID-19, the police said on Friday in its Covid-19 related action report. Out of the 1061, 174 have been cured while 9 have lost their lives.
HPE deploys cloud-enabled Covid-19 test labs, OPD centres
San Jose, California-based information technology giant Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) has set up four cloud-enabled Covid-19 test labs and an equal number of outpatient department (OPD) centres in India. The authorised testing facilities and isolation beds have been deployed in New Delhi, Chennai, Lucknow and Dehradun, according to a statement. (Full Story)
Practo launches free hourly telemedicine service
Healthtech startup Practo said it has launched a free online telemedicine solution called India Health Hour, in a programme that would be live every day between 5 to 6 PM IST on Practo’s app and website. The programme has served about 2,500 patients already for online consultations with doctors across over 20 critical specialties such as gynaecology, pediatrics, and dermatology.
MoveInSync launches free office commute solution and hotspot tracker
Office commute platform MoveInSync announced the launch of ‘ETS lite’, a free software offering to enable automation for employees, drivers and the entire transport team, to support companies that are returning to on-premise work. Transport managers will be able to manage routes, create shifts and manage shift cut-offs. It also developed a Covid-19 hotspot tracker that shows areas that are currently hotspots, with data gathered from public bulletins and information from municipal governments, in cities of Bengaluru, Chennai, Pune, Mumbai, NCR and Hyderabad among others.
MapmyIndia launches Covid-19 tools for safe resumption of businesses
Digital maps and location based technologies provider MapmyIndia said it has launched Covid-19 tools such as location-based analytics, geographical information systems, navigation and route planning, location tracking, fleet and field workforce management to help organizations and businesses open up safely post lockdown. The tools will let businesses to assess, visualise, analyse, plan, generate real-time location-based alerts, ensuring the safety of employees, consumers, vendors and other stakeholders.
Vehicle scrappage policy soon, says Gadkari
Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari said he had directed the ministry to finalise the auto scrapping policy quickly as it will go a long way in cost reduction, in a meeting with ministry officials and members of SIAM Institute on impact of Covid-19 on the auto sector on Thursday. The minister additionally suggested the exploration of cheaper credits including foreign capital for enhancing liquidity in the automobile manufacturing sector. Reportedly, not a single car was sold in India in the month of April. Additionally, the minister set a target of constructing roads worth about Rs 15 lakh crore ($199 billion) in the next two years.
UN appeals for $6.7 bn to fight virus in poor countries
The United Nations on Thursday called on governments, companies and billionaires to contribute to a $6.7 billion fund for immediate needs in fighting the pandemic in poor countries. It warned of a “hunger pandemic” ahead for millions with lockdowns and economic recession in place. Thousands of clinics, health, water and sanitation services to millions of people will be disrupted in coming weeks and months if funding is not provided urgently, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said in a new report published Thursday. (Report)
Indian equity benchmarks off to a green start
Equity indices started on a positive note with benchmarks BSE Sensex and NSE Nifty 50 trading in green on Friday morning. At 10:00 hrs, the Sensex was trading at 31,802.99 levels, up 1.14% while the Nifty 50 was at 9,307.30 levels, up 1.18%. While bank stocks were top gainers, Reliance Industries rose 2%; the conglomerate will raise $1.5 billion from private equity firm Vista Equity Partners for a 2.32% stake sale of Jio Platforms, which houses telecoms venture Reliance Jio Infocomm and other digital businesses. Unilever up by 3%; GlaxoSmithKline said on Thursday it sold its stake in Unilever's Indian business for $3.35 billion.
Confirmed cases inches towards 60,000 mark, near double in 10 days
The total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in India stood at 56,342 as on May 5, 2020, at 8 AM, according to MoHFW. The tally includes 37,916 active cases, 16,539 people who have been cured/discharged and 1,886 fatalities.The tally has nearly doubled since the morning of April 28 when the number of confirmed cases stood at 29,435.
No new Covid-19 cases detected in Kerala second day in a row
Kerala reported no new Covid-19 cases the second day in a row. The number of confirmed cases in the state stood at 502, chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan said on Twitter. The number of fatalities currently stands at 3 and 474 patients have recovered from the disease.
Elliot Alderson alleges privacy issues with Aarogya Setu in blog post
Elliot Alderson, the French ethical hacker who claimed that the privacy of more than 90 million Indians using the Aarogya Setu app was at stake, has now alleged that it is possible to hack into the application, fake the location and get details of any app user within any desired radius. In a new blog post titled ‘Aarogya Setu: The story of a failure’ on Wednesday, Alderson detailed security issues in the app, claiming that “an attacker can know who is infected anywhere in India, in the area of his choice.” (Details)
ICMR not to study Ganga water for treatment of Covid-19
The Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) has said no to Jal Shakti Ministry’s proposal to study Ganga water for anti-viral properties in view of the Covid-19 pandemic. The National Mission for Clean Ganga had written to ICMR to study the upper regions of Ganga for ‘clinical effectiveness’ on Wednesday.
Indian Council for Medical Research decides not to go ahead with Jal Shakti Ministry's proposal to undertake clinical studies for treatment of COVID-19 patients with Ganga water, saying it needs more scientific data— Press Trust of India (@PTI_News) May 7, 2020
Karnataka govt gives nod to run trains for migrant workers
The Karnataka government will restart trains for migrants from Friday. The government has written to the state governments in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and other states in North India, seeking their coordination in receiving the labourers.
IAMAI requests govt to provide level playing field to e-comm cos in red zones
Industry body IAMAI has appealed to the government to provide level playing field to e-commerce companies in the red zones. Under the revised guidelines, standalone shops selling all items have been allowed to be opened in the red zones, while e-commerce companies are still limited to supplying only essential items.
Markets close negative; Nifty slides below 9200 mark
Market indices ended trading on Thursday in the red with the BSE Sensex down 242.37 points and Nifty at 9,199.05. Financial, consumer goods stocks led losses.
Migrants begin walking to UP, Jharkhand after Karnataka cancels special trains
After the Karnataka government cancelled trains arranged for stranded migrant labourers, hundreds of people began walking home from Bengaluru. In a video posted by Byatarayanapura MLA Krishna Byre Gowda on social media, at least 300 people were seen walking on the stretch between Hebbal flyover and Devanhalli in the city.
Uber, Nature’s Basket partner to deliver essentials in Mumbai and Pune
Ride hailing company Uber has announced a partnership with Nature’s Basket, a supermarket and grocery chain, to provide residents in Mumbai and Pune access to essential supplies at their doorsteps, amidst the ongoing lockdown, the company said in a statement. The partnership will provide customers access to Nature’s Basket stores located in Bandra, Chembur, Lokhandwala and Prabhadevi in Mumbai, and in Aundh in Pune.
Unacademy database hacked and is up for sale
Edtech platform Unacademy, which has a database of around 22 million users and contacts of employees of Wipro, Infosys, Cognizant, Google and its investor Facebook is up for sale on the darkweb, multiple media reports said citing US-based security firm Cyble. The company had suffered a data breach in January following which contacts were put up for sale for $2000, the firm said.
All visas remain suspended till lockdown: MHA
All visas for foreign nationals and the Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) card visa for Indian-origin people, who are not in the country, will remain suspended till the government lifts restrictions on international travel, the Ministry of Home Affairs said in a statement. However, for all foreign nationals inside the country whose visas have expired and cannot travel out of India due to the international travel restrictions, can apply for their visa extension without any additional fee.
Amazon partners with BMC to start special delivery for containment zones in Mumbai
Amazon India has partnered with Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to help residents in many containment zones get access to essentials delivered by Amazon. The company said in a statement that it will deliver orders to a designated delivery point in the vicinity of the containment zone, from where volunteers will further deliver the packages to the customer’s doorstep.
To be able to provide essentials to the people in containment zones and facing restrictions on movement, we are collaborating with Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (@mybmc) to deliver essentials in containment zones in the city. @CMOMaharashtra @CMOGuj https://t.co/YhiMreWrjk— Amazon India News (@AmazonNews_IN) May 7, 2020
Chhattisgarh launches portal for home delivery of liquor
Chhattisgarh state government has launched an online platform and mobile application for the home delivery of liquor. The move is aimed at managing the crowd at the stores and ensuring that social distancing is maintained. According to a government statement, people can buy liquor from the website and mobile app of the state-run Chhattisgarh State Marketing Corporation Limited (CSMCL).
Markets open on a negative note on weak global cues
Benchmark indices start the trading on a weak note. Sensex falls over 300 points, Nifty drops below 9,200 in early trade. Private banks, Hindustan Unilever lead losses.
Confirmed Covid-19 cases in Maha cross 20,000
The number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in Maharashtra, which has reported the highest numbers in the countryso far, has crossed 20,000. As on May 7, 2020, at 8 AM, the state had 20,503 confirmed cases, which included 16,758 active cases and 651 fatalities.
Confirmed Covid-19 cases in India at nearly 53,000
The number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in India stood at 52,952 as on Thursday, May 7, 2020, at 8 AM, according to the MoHFW. The number of fatalities rose to 1,783 while the number of active cases stood at 35,902. A total of 15,266 patients have been cured or discharged so far.
Uber to fire 3,700 staffers across functions
San Francisco headquartered ride hailing startup Uber Technologies, hours away from its first quarter results announcement, said it will cut jobs of 3,700 full-time employees across divisions of customer support and recruitment, according to a filing with the US SEC. (Details)
Malicious Covid-19 themed domains abound on the cloud
Cybersecurity company Palo Alto Networks has found over 2,800 malicious Covid-19 themed domains hosted on the cloud. The study also found around 92 malicious domains in the top four host organisations in India. These are Web Werks India (28.26%), Amazon Technologies ( 16.30%), ASN block not managed by the RIPE NCC ( 6.52%) and Microsoft Corporation (4.35%). (Full story)
Maha, Gujarat most affected by Covid-19; Mumbai inches towards 10,000 confirmed cases
The top 5 most affected states by Covid-19 were Maharashtra with 15,525 confirmed cases, Gujarat with 6,245, Delhi with 5,104 and Tamil Nadu and Rajasthan with 3,240 and 3,049 cases respectively. Rajasthan saw a spike in numbers with 82 new cases while Andhra Pradesh witnessed 60 new cases in the past 24 hours. Mumbai remained the most affected city in the country as it inched towards the worrisome 10,000 cases mark with 9,945 active cases and 387 deaths.
India may touch 50,000 Covid-19 cases tomorrow
The total number of Covid-19 cases in the country stood at 49,391, with 33,514 active cases and 1,694 deaths according to the 5 PM update by the MoHFW. India registered 3,000 new cases in the second consecutive day even as the country's lockdown measures were considerably eased in many parts of the country.
Ninjacart to help farmers connect to buyers
Business-to-business agri-marketing platform Ninjacart has rolled out an initiative to help farmers during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Through the Harvest the Farms initiative, the company will enable farmers to sell produce by connecting them to buyers. The platform will be available on Zomato, Swiggy, and Dunzo across Bengaluru, Mumbai, Delhi-NCR, Ahmedabad, Chennai, and Pune.
Government to open public transport to reopen with guidelines in place
Minister of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) Nitin Gadkari said that the government will open up public transport with some guidelines in place during a video conference with the members of Bus and Car operators Confederation of India. However, no specific date was mentioned. He also said that the government was looking to promote private investment in the public transport sector.
Companies can host annual meetings virtually: MCA
The Ministry of Corporate Affairs has now allowed companies to conduct their annual general meetings (AGM) via video conferencing or other audio visual means.
Although the deadline for conducting AGMs was extended to 30th September 2020, the MCA has now urged companies to conduct their meetings virtually owing to the requirements to adhere to strict social distancing norms due to the Covid-19 crisis.
India to send 1000 tonnes of active pharmaceutical ingredients to Europe
Close to 1,000 tonnes of active pharmaceutical ingredients used in common pain reliever paracetamol will be supplied to Europe from India, according to the export body Pharmaceuticals Export Promotion Council of India (Pharmexcil).
The Indian govt. had put a hold on exports of several drugs including paracetamol in March to ensure that the citizens have adequate supply of the drug used to reduce fever occurring due to Covid-19.
Markets end on positive note, Sensex up by 232 points
After opening in the red owing to initial selling, the benchmark indices ended on a positive note, one day after witnessing a heavy volatile session.
The Sensex ended higher by 232 points at 31684, a rise of 0.74% while the nifty was up by o.71% at 9271.
The major gainers were HDFC, Bharti Airtel and Gail, while the laggards were ITC, Coal India, UPL and IOC.
Security guards, workers in salons and malls to be eligible for relief from the Karnataka govt
The government of Karnataka has decided that security guards and workers in Salons and malls will be categorized as ‘labourers’ who will be eligible for relief measures such as groceries from the government, according to S Suresh Kumar, the state government’s Covid-19 spokesperson.
Indian economy contracts by 15% in April: IHS Markit
The Indian economy has contracted by an annual rate of 15% in April, according to London based research firm IHS Markit. The report showed that India’s services activity had plunged to lowest in April as the Purchasing Managers’ Index fell to 5.4 from March’s 49.3.
Maharashtra govt. asks doctors to turn up to fight Covid or lose registration
The Maharashtra govt. has asked 25,000 of its doctors to turn up for work at Covid-19 hospitals during the ongoing crisis or lose their registration.
The report by Mumbai Mirror says that The notification has been issued by the Directorate of Medical education and Research says that the posting will last for a minimum of 15 days and doctors above the age of 55 are exempted.
Karnataka cancels trains that were to ferry migrant workers home
The Karnataka government has written to Indian railways to cancel all trains that were to ferry migrant workers to their hometowns immediately. Till Tuesday, the South Western Railway had operated 8 trains with each ferrying 1200 passengers to the states of Bihar, Jharkhand and Odisha.
Manufacturers reach production capacity of 2.5 lakh PPEs and 2 lakh N-95 masks
Indian domestic manufacturers have reached a production capacity of 2.5 lakh PPEs and 2 lakh N-95 masks which is said to be sufficient enough in handling the pandemic in the near future, the group of ministers (GoM) were informed on Tuesday.
90 million Aarogya Setu users privacy at stake: French Hacker
Ethical hacker Elliot Alderson said in a tweet that a security issue in Aarogya Setu could put at stake the privacy of 90 million users of the app.
Responding to the allegations, developers of the app claimed that ““no personal information of any users has been proven to be at risk”.
Students in Wuhan return to School
High school students in close to 121 institutions in Wuhan have now returned back to their classes.
Once the global epicenter of Covid-19, Wuhan had shut down in January and has till date reported 3212 deaths and more than 67,000 cases of the virus. The lockdown came to an end on April 8th.
Airbnb to lay off 25% of workforce
Online travel marketplace Airbnb has said that it will lay off close to 1,900 employees, or about 25% of the company, its CEO Brian Chesky said in a note to his employees on Tuesday. Airbnb had close to 7500 employees prior to the layoffs and will now halt projects in hotels, luxury stays and transportation divisions owing to less footfall due to the pandemic, Chesky said. (Details)
Sensex opens 160 points lower
The BSE Sensex was 169 points lower by 0.54% at 31,283 as the Nifty also saw a drop of 0.65% or 60 points and stood at 9148, as of 9:29 am. Yes Bank, Nerolac paints and four other companies are expected to release their quarterly results today.
Amazon worker at Staten Island warehouse succumbs to Covid-19
A worker at ecommerce giant Amazon's warehouse at Staten Island, New York, succumbed to the Covid-19 disease, said media reports, citing a company spokesperson. Employees New York have been seeking greater safety measures against coronavirus at the facility, the reports said.
Confirmed cases in India touch 49,391; death toll at 1,694
India reported 49,391 confirmed Covid-19 cases as on May 6, 2020, at 8 AM, according to the MoHFW. The number of fatalities stood at 1,694 while 14,182 patients have been cured or discharged after treatment. Maharashtra's tally of confirmed cases alone stood at 18,961 this morning and the death toll stood at 617.
Telangana govt. extends lockdown till May 29th
Telangana’s Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao announced on Tuesday that the lockdown in the state would be extended till May 29th. The state has a total of 6 red zone districts. As of 5th May it had 1096 cases of Covid-19 with 439 being active carriers.
Covid-19 impact on IT services earnings: IDC
The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic may impact the growth of the information technology (IT) sector in the near term, data intelligence firm IDC said in a report. Domestic technology companies are expected to grow 6.5% in constant currency terms to $14 billion by December-end. (Details)
Total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases moves to 46,711
The total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in India reached 46,711 with 1,583 fatalities according to data shared by the MoHFW at 5 PM. Of the total cases, 13,610 have been cured or discharged. MoHFW also said that due to the national lockdown, doubling time has improved from 3.4 days before the national lockdown was imposed to 12 days at present.
Noida police to punish those without Aarogya Setu app
Not installing government-backed contact tracing app for Covid-19, Aarogya Setu, on the smartphone for those living and traveling to Noida and Greater Noida can invite punishment from Noida police, said a report in The Indian Express. Noida police will conduct random checks and can punish repeat offenders with imprisonment upto six months and a fine of Rs 1000, under clause Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code. New lockdown related guidelines issued on May 1 made it mandatory for all employees to download the app and has seen protests against the move.
Special portal for exemption to govt agency operated drones for Covid-19 relief launched
The Ministry of Civil Aviation and Director General of Civil Aviation has launched a special portal GARUD to fast track usage of drones by government agencies for Covid-19 relief. The exemptions will apply to usage of drones for aerial surveillance, aerial photography and public announcements related to Covid-19. The agency can register its own drone or one from a third party Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) service provider.
Tech Mahindra mulls WFH option for a staff chunk all through current fiscal
Pune-headquartered IT firm Tech Mahindra on Monday is in discussions with clients to allow 25-30% of its employees to work from home, at least till the end of the ongoing fiscal, according to a Business Standard report citing CFO Manoj Bhat on Monday. The company is working on a system to track work productively levels on a real-time basis, in such an arrangement.
Rapido launches hyperlocal delivery service for essentials
Bike taxi operator Rapido has launched Rapido Box, a new delivery service where users can request a pick and drop of food, groceries and medicine on its app, from and to another user. The service has been made available in Bengaluru, Kolkata and Hyderabad. The service is expected to boost the utilisation and revenue of the Rapido partners who offer the rides on the vehicles, in a Covid-19 stricken environment. The platform has over 1 lakh driver partners.
Dalal St. closes in red as benchmark indices slip from day’s high
The S&P BSE Sensex and NSE Nifty 50 indices’ early gains from morning were wiped clean during the afternoon trade, on the back of falling banking and FMCG stocks, even as oil and resources stocks alongside a couple of IT stocks ended the day’s trade at green. BSE’s SENSEX last traded at 31,453.51, down 0.83% while NSE’s NIFTY 50 at 9,205.60, down 0.95% at market close.
SOP prepared to evacuate Indians stranded abroad
After the announcement for running repatriation flights to evacuate stranded Indians abroad, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said that SOP for the same had been prepared and evacuations will begin from May 7 onwards at a cost. Upon arrival the passengers will have to download the Aarogya Setu app and will be kept under isolation at institutional quarantine centres or hospitals for a charge. In a separate announcement, minister of aviation Hardeep Singh Puri said that 64 flights will be operated from May 7 to May 13 by Air India and other private airlines.
Wipro to repurpose Pune office to Covid-19 hospital
Bengaluru-based IT firm Wipro on Tuesday said it will repurpose its IT facility in Hinjewadi, Pune to a 450-bed Covid-19 hospital. The company said the hospital, replete with medical furniture, equipment, administration and skeletal support staff, will be ready in four weeks to be handed over to the Maharashtra state government by May 30. The hospital will be converted back to an IT facility after a year.
DBS Asia Hub 2 commits donation of Rs 65 lakhs to Covid-19 relief measures
DBS Asia Hub 2 (DAH2), part of financial group of companies DBS Group has announced that it has raised over Rs 65 lakhs as of Tuesday, in support of Covid-19 relief measures to provide over 4.35 lakh meals and support local hospitals with testing equipment. The company had partnered with several social work agencies to carry out the donation drive. DAH2 is in Hyderabad, the company’s second technology hub.
PolicyBazaar commits 1,000 call center staff for govt helpline
Info Edge-backed insurance startup Policybazaar has committed 1,000 employees from its customer support centre to the government of India’s National Health Authority (NHA), on a non-commercial basis, to aid the centre’s efforts in addressing public queries around the Covid-19. NHA has included Policybazaar as part of the primary call centre for calls to the national Covid-19 Helpline 1075, the company said in a statement on Tuesday, adding that its staff has been supporting the helpline from the last week of March, on a remote basis.
Snapdeal resumes non-essential goods delivery
Ecommerce platform Snapdeal on Tuesday said it has resumed the delivery of non-essential products in orange and green zones, in accordance with latest government guidelines that were effective Monday. The company’s first priority is to deliver the products that were in transit when the lockdown was announced in March, it said, adding that 75% of the orders were from green and orange zones.
MAIT to ask govt to roll back on Arogya Setu download order for private sector
The responsibility to ensure that all private sector employees install the central’s government’s Aarogya Setu app on their mobile phones cannot lie with the head of a company, hardware manufacturing body MAIT has said, according to an Economic Times report on Tuesday. The industry lobby group, with members such as Cisco, Dell, Intel and Canon, will write to the centre seeking a withdrawal of the measure. India on Saturday had ordered all public and private sector employees use the government-backed contact tracing app, in an aim to alert users who may have come in contact with people who later test positive for Covid-19.
Bounce to sanitize Bengaluru, Hyderabad police bikes
Dockless bike sharing service provider Bounce on Tuesday said it will disinfect and sanitise police bikes of personnels in Bengaluru and Hyderabad, with an antimicrobial solution, to ensure safety for usage of 20,000 scooters during the lockdown phase-out period. The treatment will keep the bikes disinfectant for a period of three months, it said.
Paytm earmarks Rs 100 cr for new kirana stores loyalty programme
Digital payments platform Paytm on Tuesday announced the launch of a new loyalty programme for Kirana stores, and set aside Rs. 100 crore to help small businesses in the country with the same. All merchant partners will be eligible to earn reward points for accepting payments from Paytm Wallet, Rupay Cards, and all UPI based payment apps. The points can be redeemed for a voucher or for purchasing merchandise from the Paytm for Business app, such as a sound-box and electronic data capture machine. Additionally, Paytm will return the bank charge fee of 1% merchant discount rate, charged on wallet transactions of the small businesses.
Swiggy introduces feature to increase mask compliance for delivery partners
Food delivery platform Swiggy has introduced a new feature in its delivery partner app, which checks for mask usage through an artificial intelligence (AI) driven system, to increase mask compliance in the wake of the highly contagious Covid-19 pandemic. The feature mandates every delivery partner to click a selfie wearing a mask, without which the option to login and start receiving orders is disabled.
Delhi government raises VAT on auto fuel, petrol, diesel prices hiked
Delhi government raised the VAT on auto fuel, leading to an increase in petrol price by Rs 1.67 per litre and diesel prices by Rs 7.10 per litre. Petrol prices now stand at Rs 71.26 per litre and diesel increased to Rs 69.39 per litre.
Stock market off to a green start
Benchmarks Sensex and Nifty opened in green on Tuesday, backed by strong global cues. Wall Street closed higher on Monday with technology stocks lifting the US indices and the continued rally of crude oil prices for a fourth consecutive day. Asian stocks rose as a number of economies make way toward easing lockdowns. At 10:15 hrs, BSE’s SENSEX was trading at 31,987.77 levels, up 0.86% while NSE’s NIFTY 50 at 9,370.50 levels, up 0.83%.
Top 5 states of Covid-19 infections in India
Indian states of Maharashtra (14,541 cases), Gujarat (5,804), Delhi (4,898), Tamil Nadu (3,550), and Rajasthan (3,061) have the highest number of Covid-19 cases in the country, according to data shared by MoHFW as on May 5, 2020, at 8 AM. Maharashtra, state of the financial capital of India Mumbai, has reached a death toll estimate of 2,465, making it the only Indian state that has crossed the 2,000 mark in fatalities.
India inches towards 50,000 mark with confirmed cases
The total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in India stood at 46,433 as on May 5, 2020, at 8 AM, according to MoHFW. The tally includes 32,138 active cases, 12,726 people who have been cured/discharged and 1,568 fatalities.
CAIT launches online marketplace, opposes non-essentials delivery by e-commerce cos
Traders body Confederation of All India Traders has launched its own e-commerce marketplace. The portal, BharatEMarket, is a joint initiative by the department for promotion of industry and internal trade (DPIIT), CAIT, Startup India, industry body All India Consumer Products Distributors Federation and early-to-growth stage investor Avaana Capital. The platform aims to bring offline stores online by giving them access to e-store building, online presence and connecting them to distributors online. (Full story)
IFF joint representation to PMO against mandatory use Aarogya Setu app
The Internet Freedom Foundation has made a joint representation to the Prime Minister's Office, endorsed by 45 organisations and more than 100 individuals, against the government's directive for mandatory use of the Aarogya Setu App. Violation of the directive, IFF said, can lead to criminal penalties and "thereby Aarogya Setu now not only impacts the data privacy of workers, or can lead to risks of exclusion and misidentification, a person not having it on their phone can also be charged with a criminal offence," the non-profit said in a post. (Details)
WhatsApp launches IFCN bot for Covid-19 fact checking
Facebook-backed chat app platform WhatsApp has launched International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN) bot to verify Covdi-19 related news. The service currently launched in English will be available in Hindi, Portugese and other languages soon. The service is available across 70 countries and users have to save +1 (727) 2912606 as a contact number and text the word ‘hi’ to get the bot started for free service.
Ola, Uber resume services in some cities as lockdown restrictions ease
Cab-hailing services Ola and Uber have resumed operations in select cities as the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) announced considerable relaxations to lockdown restrictions. Ola has re-launched cab services in 54 cities across 15 states while Uber resumed services in 25 cities across 13 states and a union territory. Ola auto and bike taxi services and Uber’s auto rides are also available in select cities. (Full story)
Maharashtra touches 15,637 confirmed cases; 548 dead
Maharashtra, home to the country's financial capital, continues to report the highest numbers in terms of confirmed Covid-19 cases. On Monday evening, the state's tally stood at 15,637 while 548 people have succumbed to the disease. Neigbouring Gujarat reported 6,760 confirmed cases while national capital Delhi's tally stood at 5,975. Earlier, the central government has extended the nationwide lockdown by two weeks to May 17 with some relaxations in restrictions.
Covid-19 death toll at nearly 1,400; confirmed cases touch 42,836
The number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in the country stood at 42,836 as on May 4, 2020, at 5 PM, according to the MoHFW. This included 29,685 active cases and 1,389 fatalities.
Cure.fit lays-off existing employees, to hiring for technology roles
Temasek backed health and wellness company Cure.fit has laid-off employees, initiated pay cuts and downsized operations across markets owing to the Covid-19 pandemic. The company has shut down operations in smaller towns and UAE though it said in a statement that it continued to recruit for business, technology and operations roles. (Full story)
Temasek donates test kits to India, startups collaborating with empowered group for low cost solutions
NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant in a press briefing said that Singapore government backed investment company Temasek has also donated 70,000 RT-PCR kits to India. Kant chaired empowered group six has mobilised over 92,000 NGOs and civil society organisations for assistance with identifying hotspots and delivering essential services for Covid-19 related response, said a release. The group is also collaborating with Indian startups to leverage innovative, low cost designs, application and equipment for combating Covid-19.
Govt to facilitate return of Indians stranded abroad from May 7
The central government will facilitate the return of Indian nationals stuck abroad on compelling grounds in a phased manner from May 7. "The travel would be arranged by aircraft and naval ships. The Standard Operating Protocol (SOP) has been prepared in this regard. Indian Embassies and High Commissions are preparing a list of distressed Indian citizens. This facility would be made available on payment-basis. Non-scheduled commercial flights would be arranged for air travel,” a statement from the Press Information Bureau said.
MHA launches helpline for trucks stopped at inter-state borders
The Ministry of Home Affairs has reiterated that movement of trucks and goods carriers across state borders for ferrying essential and non-essential goods is allowed during the ongoing national lockdown for Covid-19. The ministry said that truck drivers stopped at inter-state borders can call toll-free number 1930 for assistance. Those stranded on national highways can call the toll-free number 1033 for help.
BharatPe launches new products amid lockdown
Fintech company BharatPe has introduced two new products in its app for merchants. One is ‘Paisa Bolega’ - voice alerts of transactions and the other is ‘BharatPe Balance,’ which will reflect the total money available to the shopkeeper across deposits, loans and daily collections through QR. In a company statement, BharatPe said that the company has seen business per merchant go up significantly during the lockdown as both customers and shopkeepers prefer contactless QR payments.
Market ends about 6% lower; snaps 4-day gaining streak
It was a weak start to the week for Indian stock market. While BSE Sensex fell over 2,000 points at 31,715 towards the end of the trading session, Nifty ended below 9,300.
NRAI members distribute over 50 lakh meals
National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI) is helping migrants by serving them meals during the Covid-19 lockdown. NRAI said in a press statement that it has served over 50 lakh meals approximately in last one month through its initiative #FeedTheNeedy.
ICMR partners with IBM to leverage AI-powered assistant
Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR has collaborated with tech giant IBM to leverage artificial intelligence-powered virtual assistant Watson on its portal to respond to queries from front-line staff and data entry operators across the country. The virtual agent has been deployed on protected pages of the ICMR website that can be accessed only by authorised personnel who are involved with sample collection and testing in hospitals and diagnostic labs.
NRAI rolls out scheme to help restaurants tide over Covid-19 crisis
The National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI) has set up a platform, Rise for Restaurants, to help its members tide over the Covid-19 crisis. On the platform, patrons can buy virtual cash worth Rs 1,000 from restaurants, which they can redeem once the lockdown lifts, according to a statement. The scheme, which offers a 25% discount, requires a payment of Rs 250 at the time of purchase, while the rest can be paid when customers dine at the restaurant, it said. (Full story)
Bounce steps up to help Bengaluru railway staff
Bengaluru-based scooter renting platform Bounce, is working with the Bengaluru railway division to provide its staff with commute options to reach work in time during lockdown. Under the ScooterHero initiative, over 1000 idle two-wheelers have been registered on the Bounce platform and they will be deployed free of charge to the railway staff, the company said in a statement.
Faircent to facilitate loans in Covid-19 low impact zones
P2P lending platform Faircent.com, has launched a new loan offering to help small businesses and individuals access credit in districts across India which have suffered low to nil impact of Covid-19 outbreak, it said in a statement. The loan targets retailers, small business owners and salaried professionals facing short-term financial constraints caused by the lockdown in areas identified as the green zones.
NEC converts GMDA Smart City Control Centre into war room
NEC Technologies India is helping Gurugram Metropolitan Development Authority (GMDA) convert its smart city control center into a war room to combat the spread of coronavirus in the city. The integrated command center has been set up to coordinate traffic management and to maintain law and order in the city. NEC’s Traffic Management System (ITMS) is used to keep a vigil on human and vehicular movements during the lockdown period.
Healthians launches employee screening services for Covid-19
Home health test service provider Healthians has launched HPlus CorpShield to screen employees coming back to work during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. The service priced at Rs 350 screens employees and their housemates at home for temperature, SPO2 and physical symptoms before certifying whether they fit to join work.
Kronos Inc launched employee contact tracing solution
Cloud-based workforce management provider Kronos Incorporated has launched employee contact tracing capability to its suite of products in view of the Covid-19 pandemic. The capability takes into account labour records, time and attendance management data collected by Kronos solution and generates a report on employees who might have come in contact with a Covid-19 positive co-worker.
Market tumbles on weak global cues
Benchmark indices Sensex and Nifty open 4% lower on negative global cues, lockdown extension. Sensex dropped 1,500 points during opening session while Nifty started below 9450. Financials, auto and metal stocks lead the losses.
Total confirmed Covid-19 cases in India at 42,533
The total number of Covid-19 cases in India stood at 42,533 as on May 4, 2020, at 8 AM, according to the MoHFW. The tally includes 29,453 active cases, 11,706 people who have been cured/discharged and 1,373 fatalities.
Lockdown 3 to allow cabs, ecommerce in orange and green zones
The Ministry of Home Affairs on Friday announced extension to the national lockdown in view of the Covid-19 pandemic for two additional weeks. It has also issued guidelines for Lockdown phase three which include relaxations for orange and green zones, including e-commerce delivery of non-essential items and cab aggregator services in these areas, as interpreted by the companies.
MHA issues order to further extend #lockdown for 2 weeks beyond 04.05.2020, to fight #Covid_19.— Spokesperson, Ministry of Home Affairs (@PIBHomeAffairs) May 1, 2020
New guidelines have permitted considerable relaxations in #Lockdown3 restrictions, within the districts falling in the Green and Orange Zones. pic.twitter.com/hkp6NHaCjq
Delhi govt. holds dearness allowance hike till July 2021
The Delhi government has put a hold on hikes in dearness allowance for 2.2 lakh pensioners and central government employees, days after a similar move by the centre. The inflation linked hikes were due from January 2020 and has now been held till July 2021 owing to the covid-19 crisis. The employees and pensioners will continue to receive DA/DR at the current rate of 17%.
No of cases at 33609, MHA requests states to allow free movement of goods trucks
The total number of Covid-19 cases in India stood at 33609 as per the 5pm update by MoHFW. 8372 have recovered while the number of fatalities was at 1075. The MHA has issued an order to all states and UTs to allow free movement of trucks and goods to maintain the supply chain.
Analysis of covid-19 fatalities in India
fatality rate : 3.2%
Male victims: 65%
female victims: 35%
Less than 45 years: 14%
45 - 60 year age group: 34.8%
60-75 years: 42%
Above 75 years: 9.2%
Source-Ministry of Health and Family Welfare
Resumption of ecommerce services will depend on new guidelines : MHA spokesperson
New guidelines to be issued by MHA at the end of second phase of Covid-19 related national lockdown will address e-commerce deliveries in red and orange zones. At present, e-commerce companies have been restricted to delivering only essential goods including medicines, groceries, milk and others in non-containment zones.
Stranded people to be transported by bus to home state : MHA spokesperson
During a press briefing, the joint secretary of the Ministry of Home Affairs said that states and Union Territories will appoint nodal authorities to define standard protocol for transporting people stranded due to national lockdown to home state. MHA has directed the state governments to use buses for transport and refused to comment on the likelihood of running special trains for the same. People will be allowed to travel only if found to be asymptomatic and might have to be in institutional or home quarantine on reaching their destination, depending on orders of the local health authority.
Sensex closes 600 points higher
The markets held on to its morning gains with the Sensex closing 605 points higher at 32720 while the nifty gained 172 points to hit 9553. Both indices saw a rise of close to 1.9%. Top gainers were the HDFC twins, Tata steel and HCL technologies. This is the fourth day in a row that the markets have ended on a positive note.
Microsoft reports 15% sales jump, expects flat revenue growth for final quarter
Microsoft has reported a 15% year on year growth for the third quarter of 2020 and has placed revenue guidance in the range of $35.85- $36.8 billion for the final quarter.
One-time inter district movement of people will be allowed : Karnataka minister of law
After the state cabinet meeting, JC Madhuswamy, Karnataka minister for law, parliamentary affairs and legislation said that one-time inter-district movement will be allowed by the state according to new guidelines. He added that students and migrant workers will be charged for transport in case of interstate movement.
Urban Company says it will honor hiring commitments, won't lay off employees
Gurgaon based at-home services provider Urban Company has said that it will not layoff any employees and will also honor new hiring commitments at the time specified. The company said that it has on-boarded more than 100+ new hires since March, along with removing a limit on the number of sick leaves. It has also begun a learning and development platform called Urban Academy so its employees can acquire new skills.
Special liquidity facility for mutual funds to be available to all banks: RBI
The Reserve Bank of India(RBI) has said that the regulatory benefits announced under the 50,000 crore special liquidity facility for mutual funds will be available for all banks, irrespective of whether they deploy their own resources under the scheme or avail funding from the RBI.
Capgemini initiatives for Covid-19
Capgemini has said that it has served over 614,000 meals and 84,519 ration kits to the needy in over 15 locations in India. The company has additionally helped 1,57,400 HIV positive patients with sanitizers, gloves, soaps and masks, along with safety equipment to government hospitals, it said in a release.
Zomato distributes 5 lakh ration kits to daily wagers
Restaurant aggregator Zomato has said that it has distributed 5 lakh ration kits to daily wagers across 66 cities through the ‘Feed the daily wager’ campaign, which started in the last week of March.
“We have further identified 5 lakh families who we can help in the coming days, as we continue to stride towards our goal of raising 50 Crore funds to facilitate 10 Crore meals,” said Chandan Mendiratta, Head- Zomato Feeding India.
USAID announces $3 million aid to India to fight Covid-19
The U.S. Government, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), has announced an additional $3 million to India to fight against the Covid-19 outbreak. The funds will be utilized for the Affordable Healthcare Access and Longevity (PAHAL) project, a platform that works towards affordable and quality healthcare solutions for the urban poor.
To date, USAID has provided a total of $5.9 million to assist India in responding to the COVID-19 outbreak, including a $2.9 million aid announced on March 28th.
TikTok touches 2 billion downloads, India biggest contributor
Social video app TikTok has surpassed 2 billion downloads globally, according to data intelligence firm Sensor Tower. It has also generated the most downloads for any app ever in one quarter, with 315 million installs in Google Play and App store in Q1 2020. India has generated close to 611 million downloads and having 30.3% of its user base, making it the biggest market for the app.
More potential deaths due to hunger than Covid-19: Narayana Murthy
Infosys founder Narayana Murthy has said that India could potentially witness more deaths due to hunger than from Covid-19 if the lockdown continues. Murthy, who spoke at a webinar, said that the country had to accept Covid-19 as the new normal and focus on facilitating return to work, while protecting the most vulnerable.
MHA announces relaxations to lockdown post May 3, new guidelines to be issued
The Ministry of Home Affairs has said that from May 4 after the second phase of national lockdown comes to an end, considerable relaxations will be given to many districts, with new guidelines being issued to fight Covid-19. The MHA has also allowed students, pilgrims, migrant labourers and tourists stuck in different states to go back to their home states and Union Territories following standard protocol.
MHA held a comprehensive review meeting on the #lockdown situation today. There've been tremendous gains & improvement in the situation due to lockdown till now.— Spokesperson, Ministry of Home Affairs (@PIBHomeAffairs) April 29, 2020
To ensure that these gains are not squandered away, the lockdown guidelines should be strictly observed till 3rd May.
Aarogya Setu made compulsory for all government employees
The Indian government has made the use of the Aargoya Setu compulsory for all government workers. In a letter from the Joint secretary, G. Jayanthi, government employees were asked to attend work only if their self-assessment showed that their status was ‘safe’ or ‘low risk’. Senior officials were also asked to send a report on the implementation of the request to the government.
Markets open in the green fourth day in a row
The Sensex was up 668 points at 33,388 and the Nifty jumped 200 points to hit 9753 at the open of trading this morning. The indices continued to rally for the fourth day in a row and were up by 2% in the pre-market session. Reliance Industries and Hindustan Unilever are slated to release their earnings for the quarter ended March today.
Confirmed Covid-19 cases in India at 33,050
The number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in India stood at 33,050 as on April 30 at 8 AM, according to the MoHFW. The tally included 23,651 active cases and the number of fatalities jumped by 66 to 1074 since the last update on Wednesday evening. Globally the total number of infected people inched towards 3.2 million.
As Zoom's popularity soars, Google makes Meet free till Sept 30
In a bid to take on popular rival video conferencing platform Zoom, Google will make its video conferencing platform Meet free for anyone with a Google account in the coming weeks. Earlier, Meet was accessible only by enterprises and educational institutions with a G Suite subscription. While individuals without a G Suite account could participate in a Meet call, they could not start meetings. The current offering will be valid till September 30. (Details)
Confirmed cases in India rise to 3,1787 with 1,008 deaths
The total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in India stood at 31,787 as on April 29, 2020, at 5 PM, according to MoHFW. The tally includes 22,982 active cases, 7,796 people who have been cured/discharged and 1,008 fatalities.
BlackBuck waives commissions for partner truckers
Logistics platform BlackBuck has waived off commissions for its partner truckers to encourage them to resume operations. Over 20,000 transporters and sellers will be able to avail the zero-commission scheme over the next one month, leading to an incentive of Rs 2,000 to Rs 3,000 per trip, a statement said. (Details)
Govt allows movement of stranded migrant workers, tourists and students
The Ministry of Home Affairs has said that stranded migrant workers, pilgrims, tourists, and students will be allowed to move with conditions during lockdown. All states have been asked to designate nodal authorities and develop standard protocols for receiving and sending stranded people.
GoI issues order to State/UTs to facilitate Inter-State mvmt of stranded people inc. #MigrantLabourers, in the country.— Spokesperson, Ministry of Home Affairs (@PIBHomeAffairs) April 29, 2020
All persons to be medically screened at source & destination; & kept in home/institutional quarantine on arrival, as per @MoHFW_INDIA guidelines.#COVID19 pic.twitter.com/4zfztwB2NA
MAIT suggests phased approach in opening electronic manufacturing
Further to MEITY’s (Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology) meeting with the industry earlier today, MAIT (manufacturers association for information technology) has suggested that the government can take a phased approach, where retail is opened in semi-urban & towns, and e-commerce in metros. “Today MEITY held the second in series of stakeholder consultations with Industry, and in the interaction MAIT on behalf of the industry, emphasised the need to immediately declare ICT & mobile products as essential goods and services,” George Paul, CEO of MAIT said.
Punjab extends lockdown till May 17
After announcing a 4-hour relaxation in the curfew, the Punjab government has extended the lockdown till May 17, 2020. Punjab Chief Minister Capt. Amarinder Singh said that curfew will be relaxed between 7 am and 11 am every day. The nationwide lockdown is slated to end on May 3. Before Punjab, Telangana had announced the extension of lockdown in the state till May 7, 2020.
Markets extend gains to third day in a row
Benchmark indices ended at a fresh seven-week high; Sensex and Nifty ended the day up around 2% each. All sectoral indices barring FMCG closed in the green.
Punjab to lift lockdown for 4 hrs daily
Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh has announced that the state would be lifting the lockdown for 4 hours daily, media reports said. According to Ministry of Health and Family Affairs data, the state has reported a total of 322 positive Covid-19 cases out of 19 of them have died.
Flipkart partners with Meru to deliver essentials
Homegrown e-commerce major Flipkart has partnered with ride-hailing platform Meru to provide grocery and essential items to consumers during the ongoing lockdown. This partnership will cater to consumers across Bengaluru, Delhi NCR and Hyderabad, the company said in a statement.
SHAREit helps feed 500,000 people amidst Covid-19
Global technology company SHAREit has partnered with the Akshaya Patra Foundation to donate Rs 1 crore as a part of the initiative to feed 500,000 people in need during Covid-19 lockdown in the country. The company also claims to have taken steps to increase awareness about the virus by setting up a live updates section on the application. It also offers a helpline number to ensure safety, it said in a statement.
Britannia launches WhatsApp based store locator
FMCG major Britannia Industries has launched a ‘store locator’ for consumers to find their products in nearby stores. In the ongoing lockdown, the GPS-based Chatbot publishes a list of stores near a consumer’s current location. The technology solution has been built to respond to the surge in consumer demand, the company said in a statement.
Capgemini defers 2020 guidance; CEO takes 25% pay cut
Following information technology (IT) services majors Infosys, Cognizant, IBM and Wipro, Paris-based technology major Capgemini has said that it is not in a position to commit to an outlook for 2020 at this stage, despite a strong first quarter. Paul Hermelin, chairman and CEO of Capgemini Group, and Aiman Ezzat, who is set to take over from Hermelin as CEO, will forego 25% of their total compensation in 2020 as executive directors to help fight Covid-19, the company said in a statement. Full story:
Paytm initiative serves over 10 lakh meals to daily wagers
Digital payments major Paytm is serving over 10 lakh meals to daily wagers and has raised over Rs 2 crore under the a special initiative, the company said in a statement. The company has been encouraging citizens to donate on its app towards serving meals to the daily wagers in Noida, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai, & Hyderabad.
DoT extends WFH permission for IT cos to July 31
The department of telecommunications has extended the government permission for information technology (IT) companies to enable their employees to work from home from the earlier April 30 deadline to July 31. The decision follows the meeting of central information and broadcasting and IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad's video conference meeting with the state IT ministers. (Full story)
Cybersecurity startup Cyfirma sniffs out potential cyber-attack on PM CARES fund
Singapore and Tokyo based cybersecurity startup Cyfirma has evidence of malicious activities targeting Indian assets in the dark web -- defined as an encrypted subnetwork of the world wide web not indexed by any search engines to host illegal activities and conversations -- by a Pakistan-based hacking network called ‘IOK ’.
Market opens on positive note
Benchmark indices started the day on a strong note. Sensex opened over 150 points high and nifty was above 9,400. Financials, IT and pharma stocks led the gains.
5 states worst hit by Covid-19 infections in India
Indian states of Maharashtra (9,318 cases), Gujarat (3,744), Delhi (3,314), Madhya Pradesh (2,387) and Rajasthan (2,364) have the highest number of Covid-19 cases in the country, according to data shared by MoHFW as on April 29, 2020, at 8 AM. The death toll in Maharashtra has reached 400.
Confirmed cases in India rises to 31332 with 1007 deaths
The total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in India stood at 31,332 as on April 29, 2020, at 8 AM, according to MoHFW. The tally includes 22,629 active cases, 7,695 people who have been cured/discharged and 1007 fatalities.
India few numbers shy of 30,000 confirmed cases
The total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in India stood at 29,974 as on April 28, 2020, at 5 PM, according to MoHFW. The tally includes 22,010 active cases, 7,026 people who have been cured/discharged and 937 fatalities.
Government to introduce Aarogya Setu app for feature phones
Union minister of communication, electronics and information technology, Ravi Shankar Prasad said that the government will be rolling out a version of Aarogya Setu app for feature phones. The app developed by the Government of India connects essential health services providers with individuals and helps individuals track their risk of contracting Covid-19.
Every state highly appreciated the #AarogyaSetu app and shared their thoughts on it.— Ravi Shankar Prasad (@rsprasad) April 28, 2020
I have assured them that a similar solution for feature phones is being developed and will be launched very soon. pic.twitter.com/Z6VQOPfmcx
Elderly Mumbai Police personnel told to go on paid leave
Mumbai Police has asked its personnel above 55 years of age, older citizens who are vulnerable to the Covid-19 virus, to go on paid leave. Personnel aged 52 years of age with existing ailments such as diabetes and hypertension have also been asked to take the paid leave and stay at home.
Govt declares Rs 50 lakh compensation for port staff for Covid-19 related death
The Union Ministry of Shipping on Tuesday announced a compensation package of Rs 50 lakh for dependent members of port employees including contractual labourers, in case of loss of life due to Covid-19 while discharging duties. The package will cover death owing to Covid-19 till September, the government said, adding that the situation would be reviewed thereafter.
Doctor staff at Cognizant volunteer for Covid-19 helpline
A group of over 12 doctors employed with software services company Cognizant, for its healthcare and life sciences practice in Mumbai, have volunteered to be a part of a telephonic helpline for addressing questions on Covid-19, according to a PTI report across multiple media. The initiative, led by consulting physician Tushar Shah, aims to contain fear, panic and speculation by providing people with relevant and non-prescriptive information.
Govt can use bike taxis to help farmers in rural areas: Gadkari
Government may explore the possibility to deploy app-based two-wheeler taxis in areas such as rural lands to assist farming communities with transportation needs, Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways of India, Nitin Gadkari said on Tuesday.
We target to increase the speed of road construction by 2-3 times in the next few years. We can explore operationalising App-based two-wheeler taxis, especially in rural areas to assist farming communities with smoother movement. pic.twitter.com/D3DFEHOu3M— Nitin Gadkari (@nitin_gadkari) April 28, 2020
Plasma therapy to be used only for research and trial, not as treatment : MoHFW
Plasma therapy is not to be used for treatment of Covid-19 patients but for research and trial, said joint secretary of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Lav Agarwal during a press briefing. He further added that ICMR was in the process of conducting a study on the efficacy of the therapy and till there was scientific evidence was available, plasma therapy will have to be used with caution. He further added that even the US Food and Drug Administration has considered it as an experimental therapy for Covid-19 patients.
Health minister asks DBT institutes to expedite research on Covid-19
Union minister of health Dr Harsh Vardhan conducted a video conference with representatives of autonomous institutes and Public Sector Units under the Department of Biotechnology on Tuesday. The discussion revolved around fast tracking research on development of antibody test kits and PCR-based test kits to detect Covid-19, as well as developing a vaccine for the same.
Karnataka further eases lockdown
The Karnataka government has relaxed the lockdown norms in additional districts of the state, to make way for activities pertaining to industries operating in rural India, certain manufacturing establishments and shops. The relaxations are in line with the centre guidelines. (Details)
???? ???? ?????????????, ? ????? ???????????????? ??????????????? ???????? ?????????? ????? ???????????? ???????? ????????????? ???????? ???? ????? ?????? ???? ?????????.— CM of Karnataka (@CMofKarnataka) April 28, 2020
???????? ??? ?????? ????????, ?????? ????? ???????????? ? ?????? ???????????? ?????????????.@BSYBJP pic.twitter.com/xr1NXox6fE
Stock indices ends Tuesday trade on marginal gains
Benchmark stock market indices in India, Sensex and Nifty 50 saw a few fluctuations in intra-day trading. While the BSE Sensex closed at 32,114.52 levels, up 1.17%, the NSE Nifty 50 last traded at 9,380.90, up 1.06%. Banking stocks led the rally, with some banks reporting Q4 results, and Axis Bank signing a deal to scoop a 30% stake in Max Life Insurance.
Medlife launches at-home testing for Covid-19
Medlife will provide users with the option of testing for Covid-19 from their homes, the online pharmacy company said in a statement on Tuesday. Users must display Covid-19 symptoms and have a prescription from a registered physician to be eligible for the tests, which are conducted by NABL accredited labs and authorised by ICMR. Samples will be collected by Medlife’s partner labs. The service is currently available in Mumbai, Delhi, Noida, Ghaziabad and Faridabad, with Gurugram and Pune to be added shortly; the price of the test is Rs 4,500.
GoDaddy unveils to offer education tools to small businesses
Internet domain registry and website hosting firm GoDaddy on Tuesday said it will provide three business and technology upskilling courses on its GoDaddy Academy platform for free to small business owners and emerging entrepreneurs in India, in view of the pandemic-stricken business climate, according to a statement on Tuesday.
LazyPay launches service to keep users’ credit score in check
LazyPay, the consumer lending platform of digital payment firm PayU India, has rolled out ‘Credit Shield’ to provide consumers with a self-checkup of financial health as well as eligibility check for the central bank’s three-month EMI moratorium for mitigating the burden of loan repayments owing to the pandemic. The service, created in partnership with CIBIL and Experian, will also offer updates on misreporting of payments on loans, credit cards and provide monthly alerts and assistance on change in credit score, according to a statement on Tuesday.
ADB approves $1.5 bn loan for India's Covid-19 relief effort
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) on Tuesday approved a $1.5 billion loan to the Government of India to help fund its response to the pandemic, including support for immediate priorities such as disease containment and prevention, as well as social protection for the poor and economically vulnerable sections of the society, especially women and disadvantaged groups.
FT suspends journalist accused of listening to rival outlets’ Zoom calls
A Financial Times reporter has been suspended after rival newspaper Independent accused him of listening in on sensitive Zoom meetings held by senior managers telling staff about salary cuts and furloughs in the view of Covid-19, according to multiple UK media reports. Mark Di Stefano, the reporter who joined from BuzzFeed in January, broke the news of the meetings on Twitter at the same time as staff were being informed about response to the financial impact of Covid-19.
SC asks centre to ensure PPE kit provisions in non-Covid-19 treatment areas
The Supreme Court has directed the centre to make suggestions in guidelines for use of personal protective equipment (PPE) so that the kits are provided to all medical professionals who are working in non-Covid-19 treatment areas in the country, according to a PTI report across multiple media. The direction was passed after the deciding bench was informed that asymptomatic Covid-19 patients are reported to be on the rise in India.
Govt in SC opposes return of migrants to rural homes
The centre on Monday opposed any suggestion raised through public interest litigations in the Supreme Court to allow city-based migrants to flee to their rural homes amid the nationwide lockdown, in weighing of the risk associated with the unaffected rural lands of India, according to an Economic Times report. The Solicitor General of India, Tushar Mehta agreed to get back to court on what has to be done on this matter, after consultations with the states. posed a risk to the unaffected hinterlands of India.
NITI Aayog reports infection, building sealed
An employee of NITI Aayog has been detected positive with Covid-19 on Tuesday morning. The office, NITI Bhavan has now been sealed to disinfect and sanitise the building, according to a tweet from the central government think tank’s official Twitter handle.
Disinfection and sanitisation of the building are underway. Contacts of the single covid-positive person have been asked to go on self-quarantine.— NITI Aayog (@NITIAayog) April 28, 2020
Amazon India chief asks government to open delivery of non-essential goods on e-commerce
Country head of Amazon India Amit Agarwal took to Twitter to ask the government of India to open up delivery of non-essential goods through e-commerce. According to a clarification issued by the government on April 19 for the second phase of Covid-19 related national lockdown, the delivery of non-essential goods through e-commerce is not allowed, after an initial permission of opening up full-stack of delivery by the platform.
E-commerce offers the safest way to ensure social distancing, saving lives and livelihoods. We urge the govt to allow us to deliver all products (not just essentials) that citizens need over a prolonged period so that they can stay safe, while simultaneously jump-starting MSMEs. pic.twitter.com/cSOU2WnbNq— Amit Agarwal (@AmitAgarwal) April 28, 2020
Government holds discussion with NASSCOM on remote work option
On Tuesday the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology as well as the Department of Telecommunications held a discussion with software industry body Nasscom on making working from home a long term option for companies and employees, as a result of Covid-19 pandemic. This comes a day after IT major TCS said it was looking to enable 75% of its workforce to work from home by 2025.
Good discussion with @GoI_MeitY and @DoT_India on how India can enable #WFH to become a long term option for employers and employees. If done right, it can throw up tremendous opportunities for both. Thank you @SecretaryMEITY and Sectrtary DOT for initiating this imp discussion.— debjani ghosh (@debjani_ghosh_) April 28, 2020
Health min releases home isolation guidelines
The Indian Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Monday released a set of guidelines for home isolation of very mild or pre-symptomatic Covid-19 cases. The guidelines outlined the eligibility criteria for home isolation as well as the protocol to be followed for the same. (Details)
Delhi government opens veterinary hospitals, clinics, labs
Following the orders of the Ministry of Home Affairs on relaxation, Delhi government has opened up veterinary hospitals, dispensaries, clinics, pathological laboratories, sale and supply of vaccine and medicine. The state has also allowed the inter and intra-state movement of healthcare professionals and scientists, and allowed self-employed service providers including electricians, plumbers and water purifier mechanics to operate.
Amazon warehouse in NY found lacking in Covid-19 safety measures
E-commerce platform Amazon’s warehouses in New York, USA were found to be ‘inadequate’ in health and safety measures in the wake of Covid-19 pandemic. According to multiple media reports, the attorney general of New York wrote to Amazon stating that it might have violated several federal and state laws at its warehouses. New York has seen more than 17,000 Covid-19 related deaths and an Amazon warehouse worker in Staten Island staged a walk-out following several positive cases in the facility.
Stock indices erase early gains of Tuesday open
Benchmark stock market indices in India, Sensex and Nifty 50 started Tuesday's session at green, but soon pared early gains. The BSE Sensex is trading at 31,687.69 levels, down 0.17%, while the NSE Nifty 50 is trading at 9,271.20, down by 0.12%. Banks were top stocks, with declared (IndusInd Bank) and to-be-declared (Axis Bank) Q4 results in the news. Meanwhile, the Rupee opened weaker at 76.31 per US dollar versus Monday's close of 76.24.
Top 5 states of Covid-19 infections in India
Indian states of Maharashtra (8,590 cases), Gujarat (3,548), Delhi (3,108), Rajasthan (2,262), and Madhya Pradesh (2,168) have the highest number of Covid-19 cases in the country, according to data shared by MoHFW as on April 28, 2020, at 8 AM. The death toll in the state of the financial capital of India, Mumbai, has reached 369. The only other states with a triple-digit death toll are Gujarat (162 deaths) and Madhya Pradesh (110 deaths).
India inches towards 30,000 mark with confirmed cases
The total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in India stood at 29,435 as on April 28, 2020, at 8 AM, according to MoHFW. The tally includes 21,632 active cases, 6,868 people who have been cured/discharged and 934 fatalities.
Former PM Manmohan Singh to guide Punjab revive economy post pandemic
Former Prime Minister of India and economist Manmohan Singh has been tasked to guide a state government-led effort in Punjab to help restore economic growth, post Covid-19. Singh will work alongside a group of experts headed by economist Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh tweeted on Monday.
I had written to Dr Manmohan Singh Ji to guide us along with the group of experts headed by Montek Singh Ahluwalia & I am grateful to him for accepting. We have been working hard to steer Punjab to the path of economic growth & post #Covid19 we will again focus on same. pic.twitter.com/EKCZkqNKHK— Capt.Amarinder Singh (@capt_amarinder) April 27, 2020
B2B ecommerce marketplace Udaan fires thousands of contract employees
Udaan, the B2B ecommerce platform that shot into the limelight when it crossed the $1 billion valuation market in record time, has terminated several thousand contractual employees. According to an affected employee, about 3,500 contractual employees have lost their jobs across the country. Details
Post Covid-19, most TCS employees may continue to work from home
Mumbai headquartered TCS, the country’s largest IT services exporter, is looking at a future scenario where up to 75% of its workforce would work from home at any given time. TCS employs a total of 4.48 lakh employees globally. (Full story)
Paytm Mall partners with 10,000 stores for hyperlocal deliveries
Online marketplace Paytm Mall will partner with over 10,000 kirana stores, small shops, and businesses for hyperlocal deliveries across 100 cities in the country.
The company said it has scaled its hyperlocal operations and will expand to more cities in the coming weeks.
HCL partners TN govt for disaster management initiative
Noida headquartered technology firm HCL Technologies has partnered with the Tamil Nadu government to set up a data analytics centre in Chennai to strengthen disaster management efforts in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic. Details
Covid-19 cases at 28380, Government asks states to create blueprint to ease out of lockdown
The total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in the country increased to 28380, according to the 5PM update by the MoHFW. There were 886 deaths and 6361 recoveries. Goa, Odisha and Meghalaya have requested the government to extend the May 3rd deadline even as the Prime Minister requested states to come up with a blueprint on how they plan to remove the lockdown.
BFSI sector’s digital push could provide much needed succor to Indian IT industry
Although the Indian IT industry is staring into a washout financial year, it could see increased activity from BFSI fast adopting digital solutions backed by western economies pumping billions of dollars into relief as stimulus measures.
Sensex closes 1.33% higher, Nifty close to 9300 mark
All sectoral indices closed on a high as Sensex gained 416 points at 31743, a jump of 127.9 points. Nifty closed at 9282 at the day’s end, higher by 1.40% or 127.9 points. IndusInd bank, Britannia Industries, Axis Bank and Kotak Mahindra Bank were top gainers while laggards include Dr Reddy’s Labs, Grasim, HDFC and NTPC.
Amazon India strengthens partnership with IRCTC for delivery
E-commerce platform Amazon India announced today that it has strengthened its partnership with the Indian Railways to ramp up operations to 55 lanes during the national lockdown period. The company has been using the Covid-19 Parcel Special Trains to deliver orders of essential items. The platform first tied up with the railways in 2019 for inter-city transportation of e-commerce packages on 13 lanes.
NSDC and Amazon launch campaign for Covid-19 awareness
The National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) has partnered with Amazon India to launch an online campaign to drive awareness on the importance of precautionary measures in combating Covid-19.
The “Fight against COVID-19 #AwareIndiaSafeIndia” campaign will engage students and skill trainees through NSDC’s network of over 11,000 training centers and 800 Pradhan Mantrai Kaushal Kendras. The campaign’s content will be aligned with the official communication and guidance from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and the Aarogya Setu app that has been launched recently.
TCS announces online certification course for health workers
TCS iON, the digital learning wing of Tata Consultancy Services has announced an online self-certification course for frontline health workers. The six hour course, called as CoronaWarriors, will help those at the forefront of the battle learn prevention and control measures with regards to Covid-19 spread and containment. TCS said that inputs from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health were taken while preparing the course structure.
India’s first plasma therapy patient recovers in Delhi
India’s first Covid-19 patient who was administered with convalescent plasma therapy has recovered and has been discharged from the Max Hospital in Saket, Delhi on Sunday. The 48 year old was admitted on April 4th and was administered plasma therapy on April 14th as his condition became critical. “It is encouraging news for India. He will be in-home quarantine for another two weeks as per the government norm.” Dr. Sangeeta from Max hospital told ANI.
Megahalya, Odisha and Goa suggest extension of lockdown
Meghalaya chief minister Conrad Sangma said in a tweet that the idea of extending the Covid-19 lockdown from May 3 was mooted in a video conference between the CM and the Prime Minister on Monday. Odisha Health Minister, Naba Das as well as the CM of Goa, Pramod Sawant pitched for extension of the national lockdown. PM Modi also asked the states to prepare exit policy with regards to red, orange and green zones in their jurisdiction.
At the video conference called by the Hon’ble PM @narendramodi ji and Hon’ble Home Minister, @AmitShah ji. We have mooted to continue with the lockdown post May 3rd with relaxation on activities in Green Zones or Non-Covid affected districts in #Meghalaya.#CovidUpdates pic.twitter.com/rMrS6j3cPP— Conrad Sangma (@SangmaConrad) April 27, 2020
Telegram hits 400 million monthly users
Social messaging app Telegram has touched 400 million monthly users, the number was at 300 million a year ago. The application also announced that is planning the launch of a secure video calling feature this year that will be backed by high security features. A few weeks ago the app had launched a channel called MyGov Corona Newsdesk to share verified news updates regarding Covid-19 to the citizens of India.
Microsoft announces new features to Bing Covid-19 tracker
Microsoft has announced new features on the Bing COVID-19 Tracker to help Indians with updates. This includes integration of the Apollo Hospitals bot for self-assessment, and a hub for telemedicine support from healthcare organizations. The tracker will offer content in nine Indian languages. i.e. Kannada, Bengali, Punjabi, Tamil, Telugu, Gujarati, Marathi, Malayalam, and Hindi.
Indian government launches MyGov Saathi app for Covid-19 updates
The Indian government has launched ‘MyGov Saathi’, an AI powered virtual agent to support the government’s communication efforts to keep citizens updated with updates on COVID-19. The platform has been developed pro-bono by Accenture and Microsoft. The menu-driven approach allows users to access information on “latest update on Coronavirus in India” and check “state level status” among other options.
Dine-in ordering app peAR offers Mumbai restaurants free access to AR/VR tech
Mumbai based AR/VR technology startup peAR Technologies will offer restaurants free access to its contactless dine-in ordering feature. It has also waived-off listing charges for new restaurants on its app. Customers can visit partner restaurants, scan the QR code, view the menu in 3D Augmented Reality, order food and pay the bill online, eliminating key touchpoints.
RBI announces 50,000 crore Liquidity facility for debt mutual funds
The RBI has opened a liquidity facility for mutual funds to the tune of 50,000 crores as a measure to counter the heightened volatility in capital markets owing to the Covid-19 crisis. RBI said that the stress is confined to the ‘high risk’ debt mutual funds segment.
Sensex opens 570 points higher
The Markets have opened on a positive note with the Sensex surging by 570 points to 31,897.79, an increase of 1.82% at 9:41 am. The Nifty also rose by 1.92% to touch 9334, a jump of 171 points.
Total Covid-19 cases at 27,892, PM to discuss exit strategy of lockdown with states
The total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in the country increased to 27,892, according to the 8 AM update by the MoHFW. There were 872 deaths and 6184 recoveries. The Prime Minister is expected to hold a virtual meeting with all CMs to discuss the exit strategy for the end of the lockdown on May 3rd.
Confirmed Covid-19 cases stand at 23,452, number of cases rise in Gujarat
The total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in the country increased to 23,452 by 5 PM on Friday with 723 fatalities. While Maharashtra has recorded the highest number of cases so far at 6430, Gujarat had the second highest number of positives at 2624 and 112 fatalities.
Co-working companies form industry lobby to define practices in view of Covid-19
A group of 40 companies in the co-working space have come together to form industry body Indian Workspace Association to define protocol and practices in the Covid-19 scenario. The lobby body includes representatives from WeWork India, 91 Springboard, Instaoffice, Vorqspace among others. (Full Story)
Cognizant shareholders ask top execs to realign salary structure with revenue growth
Lower revenue growth coupled with Covid-19 induced recession has prompted Cognizant’s shareholders to ask the company’s top executives to realign the compensation structure with its revenue growth, the NASDAQ-listed firm said in a disclosure to the US market regulator Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
MSME ministry proposes Rs 10,000 crore fund to bail out industries hit by Covid-19
A fund with corpus of Rs 10,000 crore for equity investments to bail national lockdown hit Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises has been proposed by the MSME ministry as part of a relief package for the sector, according to a report by Financial Express. The centre is also said to be discussing a proposal to create a fund of funds of similar amount for making downstream investments in venture capital funds and Alternative Investment Funds.
Uber offers free rides for transporting frontline healthcare workers and non-Covid-19 patients
Ride hailing major Uber has offered free rides worth Rs 75 lakh to the Delhi Government and Rs 10 lakh to Assam govt for emergency services, which will transport frontline healthcare workers, government officials on Covid-19 related duties, and other essential services, it said in a statement. As part of its offer, Uber has partnered with the government to deploy 200 UberMedic cars, free of charge to transport non-Covid patients in coordination with the Centralized Ambulance Trauma Services (CATS) Ambulance Helpline.
Sensex slips 536 points, Nifty closes below 9200
Sensex slipped by 535.86 points on closing bell on Friday to stand at 31,327.20 while Nifty closed at 9154.40, down 159.50 points. The markets wiped out gains made over the last two days and top Sensex laggards included Bajaj Finance, IndusInd Bank as well as HDFC and HDFC Bank. Reliance Industries gained the most with stock prices growing over 3%.
Moglix joins fight against Covid-19; starts supply chain ops in more than 20 cities
Online business-to-business (B2B) industrial goods marketplace Moglix has started supply chain operations in more than 20 cities and are providing PPEs (personal protective equipment) to hospitals and companies providing essential goods & services such as pharma, FMCG, utilities, transport sector for e.g. Air India and government bodies. The company said in a statement that it is collaborating with VCs and startups through ACT - Action Covid Team which is providing grants to startups working to solve Covid-19 related challenges.
TCS offers free access to virtual classrooms to educators across US
TCS iON, a strategic unit of software giant Tata Consultancy Services, is offering access to the TCS iON Digital Glass Room, a virtual learning platform, free of cost to educational institutions in the US until March 31, 2021, it said in a statement. The platform, already available in Europe and India, enables educators and students to connect in a secure virtual environment, moving lessons from classrooms to interactive digital glass rooms.
International passenger capacity for India reduced by 89% in April: ICAO
International passenger capacity for India dropped by 89% so far this month due to the Covid-19 pandemic as compared to a business-as-usual scenario, according to the latest projections from the United Nations specialised agency for international civil aviation. The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) said that by September, the world could have 1.2 billion fewer international air travellers, compared to regular originally planned or business-as-usual.
WheelsEye launches portal for truck owners and truck drivers
WheelsEye, a startup focused on empowering truck owners, has launched Truck Maalik Sahayata Kendra, an online portal aimed at empowering fleet owners and truck drivers by delivering important news and policy-related announcements concerning the transportation industry to them. The free to use portal is available in 8 regional languages including Telugu, Kannada, Tamil, Marathi, Bengali, etc., and more are being added, the company said in a statement.
Sensex opens 400 points lower, Nifty slips below the 9200 mark
After small gains on Thursday, the frontline indices opened with cuts as Nifty opened below 9200, slipping 150 points and Sensex lost 436 points to open at 31,426.60. ICICI Bank and Bajaj Finance stocks fell 4% each, making banks and IT stocks a drag on the markets in the morning.
Intuit QuickBooks teams up with Milaap to help small businesses
Intuit QuickBooks has partnered with crowdfunding platform Milaap to launch the Small Business Relief Initiative to help small and micro businesses in India raise money to tackle challenges arising from the Covid-19 lockdown. The initiative aims to raise funds for small and micro-businesses that are facing difficulties in paying employee salaries and in covering business expenses due to Covid-19, the company said in a statement.
Confirmed Covid-19 cases breach 23,000 mark, 1684 new cases in the last 24 hours
The total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in India reached 23,077 at 9 AM on Friday. The number of fatalities rose to 718 and 1684 new cases were reported in the last 24 hours, according to the Ministry of Health and Family welfare. The number of confirmed cases remained highest in Maharashtra at 6430.
Covid-19 cases Dharavi continue to rise
Asia’s largest slum area Dharavi in Mumbai, Maharashtra has recorded 25 new coronavirus cases, according to a tweet from the Press Trust of India on Thursday evening. The virus hotbed now has a total of 214 cases, and 13 deaths recorded. Maharashtra is the worst hit Indian state in the Covid-19 outbreak with 5,652 cases and 269 deaths, according to MoHFW data.
Confirmed cases in India inch towards 22,000
The total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in India stood at 21,700 as on April 23, 2020, at 5 PM, according to MoHFW. The tally includes 16,689 active cases, 4,324 people who have been cured/discharged and 686 fatalities.
Zoom updates features to address security loopholes
Communication and video conferencing platform Zoom has announced a new set of security updates as part of its 90-day programme to enhance and optimise its features. The updated features for Zoom 5.0 will address Zoombombing by strangers joining ongoing virtual meetings and allow admins to choose data routing. (Full story)
Govt issues FEMA notification to enforce change in FDI rules
The government on Wednesday issued an amendment to the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) rules to enforce the change in Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) rules announced earlier. The change was directed to prevent “opportunistic takeover of Indian companies due to the Covid-19 pandemic.” (Full Story)
Alibaba offers $30mn worth of cloud services to Indian MSMEs amid Covid-19 slowdown
As part of its Global SME Enablement Program, Alibaba Cloud is offering solutions worth $30 million to MSMEs in India on its cloud computing platform to maintain business continuity amid Covid-19 . The cloud business of China-headquartered Alibaba Group will open up a portfolio of 12 products. Companies are required to apply for the same between April 23 and June 22. (Full story)
Google Shopping to let merchants list products for free
Search engine giant Google will make free for merchants to list and sell products on Google Shopping, to support struggling retailers through the Covid-19 crisis. Beginning next week, search results on the tab will consist primarily of free listings, helping merchants better connect with consumers, regardless of whether they advertise on Google, it said in a blogpost on Tuesday.
Reliance launches self-diagnostic tool for staff, families
Reliance Industries launched an online self-diagnostic tool, Covid-19 Symptom Checker, through which over 8 lakh company staff and family members check their health status, according to a statement from Reliance Foundation’s official Twitter handle.
#RelianceIndustries launched an online self-diagnostic tool, “COVID-19 Symptom Checker”. Over 8 Lakh #RIL staff & family members use the tool daily to check their health status. #CoronaHaaregaIndiaJeetega #RelianceFoundation @reliancejio pic.twitter.com/i5R6apqbgE— Reliance Foundation (@ril_foundation) April 23, 2020
Karnataka partially relaxes lockdown
The Karnataka government has partially relaxed the lockdown norms in the state from Thursday, according to an official notification. The relaxations, which are in line with the centre's consolidated revised guidelines of April 15, are not applicable in hotspots and their containment areas identified by the government. (Details)
India sees linear growth in Covid-19 cases due to enforcement of lockdown
India has seen only a linear growth in the number of Covid-19 cases owing to the month-long national lockdown, unlike exponential growth in cases as seen in other countries, chairman of the empowered group on availability of hospitals and allied services, CK Mishra said in the central government's joint press briefing on Thursday. AIIMS Director R Guleria said that convalescent plasma therapy has been approved across various centres in the country aside from the use of Hydroxychloroquine and Azithromycin.
The #lockdown period has been used gainfully to review, assess and expand our hospital infrastructure and preparedness; our effort has been to use resources and be over-prepared.— PIB India #StayHome #StaySafe (@PIB_India) April 23, 2020
- Chairman, Empowered Group 2 ??https://t.co/pARhE6kDtz #IndiaFightsCorona
Sensex gains 484 points, Nifty with 127 points buoyed by IT, bank stocks
Solid buying in the IT and financial stocks saw Sensex climb 484 points to end at 31,863, up 1.54 per cent. Benchmark Nifty settled at 9,314 with a gain of 127 points or 1.38 per cent. Top gainers included Infosys as well as HDFC Bank, TCS, ICICI Bank and Reliance Industries.
Logistics platform Shiprocket partners with Dunzo to deliver essentials to customers
Logistics aggregator Shiprocket has partnered with on-demand delivery service provider Dunzo to deliver essential items including groceries, medicines and food during the national lockdown to consumers. The partnership will see 1200 small scale sellers using the hyperlocal delivery platform of Shiprocket to deliver orders within a range of 3 km to 15 km through Dunzo delivery personnel. The service is available across Delhi, Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Mumbai and Jaipur, priced at Rs 30 for 3 km and Rs 15 for every additional kilometer.
Uber disburses grants to 55,000 driver partners from its Covid-19 fund
Ride-hailing app Uber announced the disbursal of the first tranche of grants from the Uber Care Driver Fund to benefit 55,000 drivers due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. The company had set up the fund with social enterprises Give India and Samhita with an initial commitment of Rs 25 crore and has also received Rs 2.15 crore from employees and riders as well as Rs 4.28 crore from NGOs and corporations. The fund aims to raise an additional Rs 25 crore for providing relief to its driver partners.
Facebook expands its Messenger Kids service to India
Social networking giant Facebook on Thursday said it is rolling out Messenger Kids, its messaging service for children, to more than 70 countries globally, including India, at a time when schools are closed and parents are turning to technology to engage kids.
Defence min Rajnath Singh unveils mobile test lab for Covid-19
Union ministry of defence head Rajnath Singh on Thursday inaugurated a mobile lab named Mobile Virology Research and Diagnostics Laboratory developed by DRDO. The mobile lab has the screening capacity of over 1,000 samples daily.
Inaugurated the first of its kind mobile lab named Mobile Virology Research and Diagnostics Laboratory (MVRDL) developed by @DRDO_India in a record time to speed up COVID-19 screening and R&D activities. This mobile lab has the screening capacity of more than 1000 samples daily. pic.twitter.com/8FO5fJsmf4— Rajnath Singh (@rajnathsingh) April 23, 2020
President approves ordinance for stricter punishment to attackers of healthcare
Indian President Ram Nath Kovind has given his assent for promulgation of an ordinance to amend the Epidemic Diseases Act 1897, with an aim to protect healthcare service personnel and their living and working premises against violence during epidemics. The ordinance provides for making such acts of violence cognizable and non-bailable offences, and a compensation policy.
Epidemic Diseases (Amendment) Ordinance,2020: Intends to ensure that during any situation akin to the current pandemic, there is zero tolerance to any form of violence against healthcare service personnel & damage to property.— PIB India #StayHome #StaySafe (@PIB_India) April 22, 2020
Nutanix offers extended payment terms to partners
Enterprise cloud solutions provider Nutanix has offered its reseller partners extended payment terms with no additional costs, it said in a statement on Thursday. The move is aimed at helping the partners preserve cash flow through the pandemic, the statement added. In turn the partners will extend these extended payment terms to their customers.
AIIMS Delhi to deploy Milagrow robots
Consumer robotics company Milagrow’s robots will be deployed by AIIMS Delhi at its advanced Covid-19 ward to reduce transmission risk, it said in a statement on Thursday. The Milagrow iMap 9 will navigate and sanitize the floors without any human intervention, while Milagrow Humanoid ELF will let doctors, relatives monitor and interact with patients remotely.
Unilever withdraws 2020 outlook, Q1 sales show flat growth
Unilever has withdrawn its growth and margin forecast for 2020, saying that it cannot reliably assess the impact across its markets and business due to the unknown severity and duration of the pandemic, as well as the containment measures that may be adopted in each country. Growth in India was impacted by both the slowing market and the lock-down implemented at the end of March, which stopped production and shipping for a number of days, the British-Dutch transnational consumer goods giant said on Thursday.
Q1 Results 2020: Today we’ve announced our Q1 Financial Trading Statement. The resilience of our business is demonstrated by flat underlying sales, with volume growth of 0.2% and negative price of 0.2%. $UNA $ULVR #UnileverResults https://t.co/duPK6M6aUM pic.twitter.com/QeBP2dlBay— Unilever #StayHome (@Unilever) April 23, 2020
Google Meet reinforces with new features
Google Meet has added a tiled layout to fit up to 16 participants, low-light mode, and noise cancellation features in another push of the search engine giant’s video conferencing platform to compete with rivals Zoom, Cisco Webex Meetings and Microsoft Teams.
Urban Company makes Aarogya Setu app mandatory for service providers
Urban Company, formerly known as UrbanClap, has made it mandatory for its service providers, such as plumbers, carpenters, electricians, and disinfection workers, to download the Aarogya Setu app, according to a statement from the home services company on Thursday.
Inside rounds gain ground as Covid-19 brings caution to early and growth stage dealmaking
Inside rounds which are follow-on investments that involve only existing investors, and bridge rounds are seen to becoming more frequent in India’s early-to-growth stage startup dealmaking. April, when the nationwide lockdown got underway in full swing, saw 10 such deals taking the tally from March onwards to 14. (Full Analysis)
Fitch Ratings slashes India's FY21 GDP growth forecast
Fitch Ratings on Thursday cut India’s economic growth forecast for the financial year 2020-21 to 0.8% from 1.8% citing falling commodity prices, capital outflows, and more-limited policy flexibility, factors that are worsening the impact of the domestic virus-containment measures, according to multiple media reports. The rating agency expects world GDP to contract by 3.9% in 2020 against an earlier estimate of 1.9%.
Stock markets off to a green morning
The stock market’s benchmark indices on Thursday morning were trading in green, with BSE’s SENSEX trading at 31,558.30 levels, up 0.57% while NSE’s NIFTY 50 at 9,254.15 levels, up 0.73% at 10:07 hrs. Zee Entertainment’s stock traded at a jump of 7%, after Florida Retirement System (FRS) bought about half a percent stake in the media company on Wednesday. Britannia stock traded at a jump of 8% ahead of the FMCG company's Q4 results.
State-backed hackers deploying Covid-19 phishing attacks: Google
Google on Wednesday said it has found bad actors using Covid-19 related themes as a cover for phishing attacks, having identified over a dozen government-backed attacker groups that are using the themes as a lure for phishing and malware attempts. (Full Story)
Confirmed cases in India cross 21,000
The total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in India stood at 21,393 as on April 23, 2020, at 8 AM, according to MoHFW. The tally includes 16,454 active cases, 4,257 people who have been cured/discharged and 681 fatalities.
IBM withdraws full-year earnings guidance due to Covid-19
US headquartered technology giant IBM has withdrawn guidance for its full-year earnings owing to the Covid-19 pandemic. In a statement the company said that it will reassess the situation at the end of the second quarter. With this IBM joins Indian IT majors including TCS, Infosys and Wipro which have put earnings guidance on hold due to the pandemic.
Zomato makes Aarogya setu app mandatory for delivery partners
Online food delivery platform and restaurant aggregator Zomato has made government-backed Covid-19 risk assessment app Aarogya Setu mandatory for its delivery partners. Zomato said that its delivery partners can only log in to their delivery partner app if their phone has the Aarogya Setu app installed, and is running in the background on their phone.
India crosses 20,000 mark for Covid-19 positive cases, government asks states to protect doctors
India became the 17th country in the world to cross the dreaded 20,000 milestone in confirmed cases of Covid-19. The total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in India stood at 20,470 as on April 22, 2020, at 5 PM, according to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. The tally includes 15,859 active cases, 3,959 people who have been cured/discharged and 652 fatalities. The ministry on Wednesday advised chief secretaries of all states and union territories to adopt measures to protect medical professionals even as Epidemic Diseases Act 1897 was amended to enforce the same.
ICMR issues protocol to states on proper usage of rapid-antibody test kits for Covid-19
ICMR has forwarded a protocol for using rapid antibody test kits to all states, said a press release by the government. These test results are also dependent on field conditions and are to be used for surveillance. These cannot replace the RT-PCR test to diagnose Covid-19 cases, said ICMR in its release. States have been advised to follow the prescribed protocol for these tests. On Tuesday, ICMR had asked states to not carry out any rapid tests for a period of two days till the institute got back with an advisory to address faulty results given by the kits.
Payworld to provide job opportunities to migrant workers
Fintech company Payworld has said that it will provide job opportunities to migrant workers who have lost their income by enrolling them as Payworld retailers and leveraging their knowledge of digital transactions. The company said it will also extend its retail base from the current 2.5 lakh retailers to accommodate new recruits The onboarding process will include training through video and online webinars backed by an AI-based chatbot.
RIL gains buoy Sensex up by 743 points, Nifty gains 206
The Sensex surged by 743 points to end the day at 31,380 recording a gain of 2.42% while Nifty gained 206 points to touch 9186 with an increase of 2.29%. Reliance shares zoomed by 9.83% riding on the Jio-Facebook deal worth Rs 43,547 crore. Other top gainers include Zee Entertainment and Asian Paints.
Rapido partners with Karnataka and Delhi governments to deliver essentials
Two wheeler Bike rental platform Rapido has partnered with the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike’s home delivery helpline as a delivery service partner. Bengaluru citizens can avail the services by calling or dropping a WhatsApp message to 080-61914960 to order essential products. Rapido also said that it is supporting the Delhi Government in delivering essential items such as milk and food packets in underprivileged areas.
Pegasystems launches emergency loan processing application for financial institutions
CRM and automation solutions provider Pegasystems has launched an emergency loan processing application, called the Crisis Small Business Lending Reference Application.
The app will help financial institutions manage loan requests from small businesses seeking relief during these testing times. The application will work as a part of Pega’s Crisis Response Solutions Portfolio which contains 18 solutions.
India has a network of over 700 Covid hospitals and 77 manufacturers of PPEs
Briefing on the preparation to combat Covid-19 in India over the last three months since the first case was reported in January 30, minister of information and broadcast, Prakash Javadekar said that there are 723 Covid hospitals in the country with a facility of 1.86 lakh isolation beds with 24,000 ICU beds and 12,190 ventilators. There are 77 manufacturers of PPEs and over 1 crore PPEs have been ordered by the government. There are over 24 lakh N95 masks available and over 2.5 crore masks have been ordered by the government.
Cabinet amends Epidemic Diseases Act to protect healthcare workers combating Covid-19
The cabinet on Wednesday promulgated an ordinance to amend the Epidemic Diseases Act 1897 in view of ensuring security of medical professionals involved in treating and testing Covid-19 in India. The amendment makes violence against doctors, nurses and other health professionals, including ASHA workers a cognizable, non-bailable offence, inviting cash penalty and jail term of upto 7 years for serious offences. Destruction of property of these professionals including vehicles and clinics will invite a cash penalty.
MHA meets doctors, representatives of IMA to assure them of security
Minister of Home Affairs Amit Shah met doctors and senior representatives of the Indian Medical Association over video conference. He assured them that the government had taken cognizance of incidence of violence against doctors and medical practitioners. Cases of violence and discrimination against doctors and medical practitioners involved in testing and treatment of Covid-19 patients have been reported over the past few weeks.
OYO cuts salary of all employees by 25% : media reports
Budget hotel chain OYO has slashed salaries of all employees in India by 25% on their fixed remuneration till July 2020, according to a statement by the company. In an internal townhall, company CEO Rohit Kapoor asked some employees to go on leave with limited benefits due to the impact of Covid-19 on the business. This comes weeks after the company furloughed thousands of employees in the international markets including US and China. OYO managerial team had also announced taking voluntary pay cuts ranging from 25% to 50% earlier this month in view of the slowdown.
OLX starts fund campaign for migrant workers
Online classifieds company OLX has launched a fund campaign called OLX Pledge in partnership with NGOs such as Bhumi and India Cares. OLX has set up a microsite for contributions from employees, clients and users to fund ration kits for migrant workers. The parent company of OLX, Netherlands-headquartered Prosus has contributed Rs 100 crore to Prime Minister’s Relief Fund.
MCA relaxes rules on Annual General Meetings
The Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) has allowed companies whose financial year ended in December to hold their first Annual General Meeting before September 30 or within nine months owing to the Covid-19 related national lockdown which has led to companies resorting to remote operations. Many companies had requested the government to relax the AGM timeline which would have led to violation under Companies Act, 2005.
Government exempts shops selling agricultural items, educational books and fans from lockdown
The government has exempted agricultural and forestry items, shops of educational books for students and shops selling electric fans from restrictions under national lockdown. The Ministry of Home Affairs has also issued standard operating procedures for Indian seafarers at Indian ports.
GoI exempts additional agricultural and forestry items, shops of educational books for students & shops of electric fans from #lockdown restrictions to fight #COVID19— Spokesperson, Ministry of Home Affairs (@PIBHomeAffairs) April 21, 2020
MHA issues SOPs on sign-on/sign-off for Indian seafarers at Indian ports & their movement#CoronaVirus Update pic.twitter.com/QNWuVZbtJR
Bengaluru’s HCG Hospital to conduct plasma therapy trials for Covid-19
HCG Hospital of Bengaluru has received approval from the central government to conduct clinical trials with regards to the effectiveness of convalescent plasma therapy in Covid-19 treatment. ICMR had received 99 applications from various institutes to take part in a study to test the efficacy of the therapy in treating complications in Covid-19 patients.
Congrats to Drs. @BSAjaikumar_HCG, @drvishalrao, Jyothsna & Gururaj Rao & everyone involved for receiving the okay by the Centre to begin testing on their 'plasma therapy'. It is an honour for our state to have your front footing against #covid19. 1/2— B.S. Yediyurappa (@BSYBJP) April 21, 2020
Swiggy mulls several cost-cutting measures to survive Covid-19 impact
Food delivery platform Swiggy told TechCircle that it plans to introduce several cost-cutting measures as it looks to survive the impact of Covid-19 on its business. The measure will impact several kitchen staff members.
Markets open in the green, Reliance zooms on Facebook-jio Deal
At 09:13am IST, the Sensex was up by 219 points at 30856, an increase of 0.72% while the Nifty was up by 0.5% at 9026.50, an increase of 45.30 points. Reliance Industries shares zoomed by 7% on the news of Facebook investing $5.7 billion for a 10% stake in Reliance Jio.
Covid-19 India cases almost at 20k mark, death toll at 640
The total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in India stood at 19,983 as on April 22, 2020, at 8 AM, according to MoHFW. The tally includes 15,474 active cases, 3,869 people who have been cured/discharged and 640 fatalities. The government will conduct a telephonic survey of its citizens through the number 1921 related to Covid-19.
Nestaway and group companies announce Covid-19 relief measures
Managed home rental platform Nestaway Technologies has waived fee and onboarding charges for tenants on its platform and a Rs 50 lakh fund to support its ‘super owners’ who have been on the platform for more than four years, in view of the ongoing national lockdown due to Covid-19. The co-living vertical of the company, Hello World, has opened up its facilities in Mumbai and NCR to house over 30 migrants. Nestaway-owned security solution platform for gated communities, ApnaComplex, has partnered with Ninjacart, Metro Cash and Carry, ITC Ltd, Apollo Clinics and others to deliver vegetables, grocery and medicines during the lockdown.
MyGate to deliver household essentials to gated communities
Bengaluru based security and community management solution provider MyGate has collaborated with Grofers, ITC and StoreSe in order to help with delivery of essential groceries. The company has a footprint in over 16 cities and has reached 3500 gated communities in 7 cities till Tuesday. MyGate said that deliveries through Grofers for its communities will be done in 2-3 days as opposed to the usual 5 to 7 days. The company said that it will also offer contactless deliveries, E pass facilities for Karnataka users as well as online Corona consultation through telemedicine partnerships.
SEBI grants temporary relaxation for rights issuance in view of Covid-19 pandemic
Market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) announced temporary relaxation for listed entities for rights / public issuances for fundraising through capital markets. The relaxations include reducing average market capitalization of public shareholding from Rs 250 crore to Rs 100 crore, among other measures to fast track rights issuances. The relaxation will be applicable to right issues that open on or before March 31, 2021.
#SEBI has decided to take certain measures to further facilitate fund raising by corporates through capital markets in keeping with its ongoing efforts to ease processes in light of #COVID19. #IndiaFightsCorona pic.twitter.com/IdeaV6YzeQ— NSitharamanOffice (@nsitharamanoffc) April 21, 2020
Covid-19 India inches closer towards 20,000 mark, death toll crosses 600
The total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in India stood at 18,984 as on April 21, 2020, at 5 PM, according to MoHFW. The tally includes 15,122 active cases, 3,259 people who have been cured/discharged and 603 fatalities. The ministry also said that the country's recovery rate of Covid-19 patients is 17.48 per cent. Maharashtra recorded a total of 4669 positive cases till the end of the day followed by Delhi and Gujarat.
Pune municipal corporation launches Saiyam app to track quarantined individuals
The Pune Municipal Corporation has launched a mobile application called Saiyam to monitor the movement of home quarantined citizens and ensure they stay indoors. The city commission has appointed teams to conduct follow-ups, as well as get updates on their health status with people under home quarantine on a daily basis. Quarantined individuals are required to download the app enabled with GPS tracking facilities
FCI moves food vessels with food grains to Lakshadweep and Andaman & Nicobar islands
The Food Corporation of India has moved 2 vessels to the Andaman & Nicobar Islands and 7 smaller vessels to Lakshadweep Islands in order to maintain supply of food grains during the lockdown.
The government said that the FCI has moved 6500 metric tons of food grains to the Andaman & Nicobar Islands over the last 27 days, which is more than double the monthly average, as well as 1750 metric tons to Lakshadweep, which is thrice the monthly average.
DGCI approves clinical trial of drug to reduce mortality of critically ill Covid-19 patients
CSIR has initiated a randomised clinical trial to reduce the mortality rate of critically ill Covid-19 patients whose immune response is similar to that of patients suffering from Gram Negative Sepsis, said joint secretary of Ministry of Health & Family Welfare. The Drug Controller General of India has approved the test to be carried out across different hospitals.
States asked to refrain from using rapid testing kits for two days to detect Covid-19 due to faulty results
High variations in sensitivity of antibody-based rapid test kits for detection of Covid-19 has been reported by some states, said Dr R Gangakhedkar, head of epidemiology and communicable diseases at ICMR in a press-briefing. Eight ICMR institutes will test random lots of these kits on the field for efficacy, he said. States have been asked to not use the test kits for the next two days and will be apprised of further action.
Economic activities resume at village level in regions not affected by Covid-19 : MHA spokesperson
Intra-state movement of migrant workers has been allowed since April 20 for continued employment of these workers in permitted activities. This will follow a Standard Operating Procedure issued by MHA in consultation with state governments. Regions not affected by Covid-19 have seen relaxation to resume economic activities especially at a village leve, April 20 onwards. These include MGNREGA work, road building, operation of brick kilns and other businesses, said joint secretary of MHA in a press briefing.
Capacity building measures to combat Covid-19 announced by government
The empowered group formed for augmenting human resources and capacity building announced the formation of two databases. Of them, covidwarriors.gov.in has details on state and district level coordinators as well as field level workers involved in fighting Covid-19. The portal also has details on hospitals which are a part of Covid-19. The second portal igot.gov.in has online modules for training frontline workers and volunteers from NCC, ex-servicemen and others for combating Covid-19. 18.43 lakh volunteers have joined over the last one month.
Markets update: Sensex drops 1,011 points after oil price crash
Nifty closed below the 9000-mark to 8981 while the Sensex closed 1011 points lower at 30,636 at the end of Tuesday’s trade, in response to US crude oil prices nose-diving below the $0 a barrel mark for the first time in history. The top laggards on Sensex were Tata Steel, ICICI Bank, Axis Bank and ONGC.
MoHFW launches CovidIndiaSeva to answer citizen queries
Minister of Health & Family welfare, Harsh Vardhan announced on Tuesday the launch of a twitter handle CovidIndiaSeva, which will help citizens establish a direct channel of communication with the government amid the pandemic. Citizens can pose queries at CovidIndiaSeva to get them answered. At the backend, a dashboard will process the tweets, convert them into resolvable tickets, and assign the same to the relevant authorities for resolutions.
BigBasket CEO says staff shortage led to limited delivery, failed orders post lockdown
Online grocery retailer BigBasket saw a 3x to 6X surge in demand for goods on its platform after the announcement of national lockdown due to Covid-19, said CEO Hari Menon on twitter. Menon said that the company faced a staffing crunch as delivery personnel and warehouse staff left for their villages ahead of the lockdown leading to limited delivery slots. The company has managed to scale services to deliver 2.83 lakh orders per day since the announcement of the lockdown.
Over the last few weeks you may have found it hard to find slots on bigbasket (hopefully you're finding it better over the last few days). I thought I'd try to explain why.— Hari Menon (@harimenon_bb) April 20, 2020
Rapid Delivery starts doorstep deliveries of essential goods in Mumbai
E-commerce logistics company Rapid delivery has launched essential.rapidd.co -an online marketplace that will provide doorstep deliveries such as grocery, medicines, pulses and Covid-19 gear during the ongoing lockdown for the city of Mumbai. More than 60 products are currently listed on the platform.
WE HUB provides services to women-led enterprises to survive Covid-19 lockdown
Telangana state government-run incubator for women entrepreneurs WE HUB is providing services to women led enterprises to survive the lockdown due to Covid-19. The services include organizational management, financial remodelling, financial linkages such as debt and credit facilities among others to startups on its platform and MSMEs.
Kejriwal says Delhi will conduct Covid-19 tests on Mediapersons
Chief Minister of Delhi, Arvind Kejriwal said in a tweet on Tuesday that the Aam Aadmi Party would conduct Covid-19 tests on members from the media fraternity. Kejriwal responded to a tweet where the user urged the CM to arrange for mass Covid-19 tests following an incident in Mumbai where more than 53 media based workers tested positive. Kejriwal responded with "Sure. We will do that." The government is yet to elaborate on the details.
Sure. We will do that https://t.co/ehcY5OMiEP— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) April 21, 2020
YouTube's subscriber base in India surges 20% during lockdown
Google-owned YouTube has seen a 20.5 percent surge in its subscriber base in the country. A report by Mindshare India and analytics platform Vidooly said that the company garnered over 300 billion views in the first quarter of 2020, 13 percent more than 4th quarter of 2019.
Crowdfunding platform ImpactGuru receives grant from ACT
Healthcare crowdfunding platform ImpactGuru has received a grant of Rs 40 lakh from Action Covid-19 Team (ACT) to fund Personal protective Equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers. ImpactGuru will add up to 20% in matching donations via the ACT Grant on every single donation for selected public and private hospitals on its platform. ACT was formed by Indian venture capital and startups to fund ideas to combat Covid-19 with a corpus of Rs 100 crore in grants.
Amazon workers in US protest against poor Covid-19 response
Nearly 300 workers across 50 facilities of ecommerce company Amazon in the US will report sick as protest against the company’s poor response to Covid-19 starting Tuesday. According to media reports, worker rights group, United for Respect, said that the workers at these facilities did not receive enough face masks or temperature checks and weren’t allowed to get paid sick leave.
Trump to sign executive order temporarily suspending immigration to US
US President Donald Trump tweeted on Monday night (EST) that he will be signing an executive order to temporarily suspend immigration to the United States in order to protect the jobs of American citizens in light of rising Covid-19 cases in the country. As of Monday USA had 746,625 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 39,083 deaths.
In light of the attack from the Invisible Enemy, as well as the need to protect the jobs of our GREAT American Citizens, I will be signing an Executive Order to temporarily suspend immigration into the United States!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 21, 2020
Indian markets open with cuts on weak global cues
BSE Sensex lost over 830 points, losing 2.63% and stood at 30,815 and NIFTY was down 235 points at 9,026 losing 2.55% over yesterday’s close due to weak global cues and historic fall in crude oil prices which was trading below zero before bouncing back. IndusInd bank, Bajaj Finance, ONGC were top losers, Infosys fell 2% in opening trade after suspending promotions, hikes and guidance.
Total Covid-19 cases breach 18,000 mark
The total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in India stood at 18,601 on Tuesday morning. The tally includes 14,759 active cases, 3251 people who have been cured/discharged and 590 fatalities. One case was reported in the Rashtrapati Bhavan and has resulted in 125 families being put under isolation according to a news report.
Infosys defers revenue, margins forecast for FY21
Indian IT major Infosys has deferred its guidance on revenue and margins for the financial year 2020-2021, citing Covid-19 induced business uncertainty, the company said in its Q4 results announcement on Monday. The company is not looking at any Covid-19-related layoffs "at this stage," but has suspended promotions and salary hikes and has additionally freezed hiring. (Full Story)
Confirmed cases in India nearly double in a week
The total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in India stood at 17,656 as on April 20, 2020, at 5 PM, according to MoHFW. The tally includes 14,255 active cases, 2,841 people who have been cured/discharged and 559 fatalities. The number of confirmed cases is up about 89% from last Monday, April 13.
West Bengal flags concern on deployment of IMCT
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Twitter questioned the basis on which the central government has proposed to deploy Inter-Ministerial Central Teams (IMCT) in select Indian districts, while also acknowledging constructive support and suggestions, “especially from the Central Govt” in negating the Covid-19 crisis. Until the criterion is shared, West Bengal would not be able to move ahead on the initiative, as without valid reasons, it might not be consistent with the spirit of federalism, Banerjee added. Separately the CM also worded a letter to Modi on an IMCT visit protocol issue in the state.
West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee writes to PM Modi. Letter states, "Home Minister spoke to me over telephone at about 1 pm regarding visit of Inter-Ministerial Central teams to my state. Unfortunately, teams had already landed in Kolkata at 10:10 am, much before our conversation". pic.twitter.com/SDslICjNDY— ANI (@ANI) April 20, 2020
Thoughtworks and Ashoka University team up to track Covid-19 spread in India
Software and consultancy services platform ThoughtWorks has partnered with Ashoka University to develop an agent-based simulation model for the spread of Covid-19 in India, according to a statement on Monday. The model, called BharatSim, builds on EpiRust, an open source framework developed and released recently by ThoughtWorks. Agent-based models provide ways of understanding how epidemics spread in a way that no other models are capable of, the statement added.
Facebook rolls out Covid-19 symptom maps
Social media giant Facebook on Monday launched county-specific maps of people with Covid-19 symptoms to help local governments and public health officials allocate scarce resources such as ventilators and personal protective equipment as well as decide when it is safe to start reopening different places. The surveys that have been undertaken to build the data in partnership with researchers at Carnegie Mellon University will start to run globally later this week, co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg said on Monday. The company is looking for more research partners around the world to help generate insights from aggregated data to help with the Covid-19 response. (Symptom Map)
India targets 298 MT of food grain production for 2020-21
The foodgrain production target for 2020-21 has been fixed at 298 million tonnes, additional director general of media and communication for Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution said. The government has allowed NGOs to buy food grains directly from the Food Corporation of India.
Sensex closes Monday trading on marginal gains; Nifty closes flat
Benchmark stock market indices in India, Sensex and Nifty 50 saw a few fluctuations in intra-day trading, paring slight gains from Monday morning when the country resumed select factory operations and businesses as part of a staggered exit from the nationwide lockdown. While the BSE Sensex closed at 31,648 levels, up 0.19%, the NSE Nifty 50 last traded at 9,266.55, down by 0.04%. IT stock Infosys was up about 4% ahead of its Q4 results.
Ola rolls out emergency service in Mumbai
Ola rolled out its emergency service in Mumbai, marking the service’s availability across 15 Indian cities as on Monday, the ride hailing platform said in a statement. The transport services are for all non-Covid-19 medical trips such as scheduled check-ups, dialysis, chemotherapy and for immediate medical needs such as injuries, amongst others. The platform allows trips to be booked only from homes to hospitals and vice versa. Customers will be charged a nominal fare to compensate driver-partners for their services.
Dell Technologies rolls out financial package for partners
Computer hardware maker Dell Technologies has rolled out a financial relief package to help its partners preserve capital and cut costs, it said in a statement on Friday. It will make a one-time cash payout of upto 50% from the clients’ market development fund (MDF) and business development fund (BDF) balances. (Full Story)
Indian govt constitutes 6 inter-ministerial teams
The Government of India on Monday said it has constituted six Inter-Ministerial Central Teams (IMCTs), two each for West Bengal and Maharashtra and one each for Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan to make on-spot assessment of the situation and issue necessary directions to state authorities for its redressal and submit their report to the central government. (Details)
Cognizant hit by Maze ransomware attack
Information technology services provider Cognizant on Sunday said it has become a victim of a Maze ransomware attack. The incident comes at a time when technology enterprises are facing disruption due to the Covid-19. The pandemic has forced IT companies to adopt the work from model, on an unprecedented scale, to ensure business continuity, prompting cybersecurity concerns. (Full Story)
Dunzo partners with Cloudnine to deliver medicines for expecting mothers, newborns
Hyperlocal delivery service provider Dunzo has partnered with Cloudnine, a maternity, childcare and fertility care group of hospitals to deliver 24x7 essential medicines to expecting mothers and their newborns. Customers across Cloudnine centres in Gurugram, Pune, Chennai and Bengaluru can book the medicines through the 'It’s our Baby' app, according to a joint statement on Monday. The app also provides for video consultations with doctors.
ICICI Bank launches voice banking services on Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant
ICICI Bank on Monday said it has integrated its artificial intelligence (AI) powered multi-channel chatbot iPal, with voice assistant services Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, to offer banking services to its retail banking customers. Customers can check savings account balance, credit card details and ask queries about the tank’s products and services through the 24x7 voice command-enabled service. Customers can connect with their bank from home at a time when they are advised to stay indoors in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis.
Fitch Solutions cuts India's FY21 GDP growth forecast
Fitch Solutions on Monday cut India’s economic growth forecast for the financial year 2020-21 to 1.8% from 4.6% saying private consumption is likely to contract due to large-scale loss of income in the face of worsening domestic outbreak of Covid-19, according to a PTI report posted on multiple media. The rating agency also expects a deeper contraction in fixed investments as businesses choose to cut back on capital expenditure.
Cure.fit uses whole.fit platform for online grocery
Cure.fit has a begun grocery delivery service with an addition of a wide range of grocery essentials in its portfolio, under whole.fit, according to a statement on Saturday. The company is currently providing delivery slots within 24 hours of order placement, with its collaborations with brands such as Saffola (Marico), MTR, Britannia, Pillsbury (General Mills), Ashirwad (ITC), MDH, and 24 Mantra.
Alibaba Cloud offers AI, cloud services to help battle Covid-19
Alibaba Cloud, the data intelligence arm of the Alibaba group on Sunday said it has offered medical personnel around the world its advanced cloud-based technology applications in the fight against the Covid-19. The series of cloud-native anti-coronavirus solutions stem from joint efforts of Alibaba Cloud's solution experts, scientists and researchers from Alibaba DAMO Academy and the technical team at DingTalk, an Alibaba platform that enables distance learning, a statement said.
Centre may have asked for an explanation due to misunderstanding: Kerala
The Government of Kerala has provided for relaxation in its lockdown guidelines, in line with the directions issued by the centre, a state cabinet minister Kadakampally Surendran has clarified. Centre may have asked for an explanation, due to some misunderstanding, Surendran said. The government of India on Sunday urged the Government of Kerala to revise the state’s lockdown guidelines, as it currently allows for activities that are prohibited under the centre’s consolidated revised guidelines of April 15.
We've given relaxations abiding by directions issued by Centre. Centre may have asked for an explanation, due to some misunderstanding. Once we give an explanation, I hope the issue will be solved. We followed all norms set by the Centre: Kerala Minister Kadakampally Surendran pic.twitter.com/jmMG0UTG72— ANI (@ANI) April 20, 2020
GoI urges GoK to revise lockdown guideline in line with MHA guideline
The government of India on Sunday urged the Government of Kerala to revise the state’s lockdown guidelines, as it currently allows for activities that are prohibited under the centre’s consolidated revised guidelines of April 15. The activities include opening of local workshops, barber shops, restaurants, book stores, micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) in municipal limits, bus travel in the cities/towns for shorter distance, two passengers in the back seat of a four wheeler, and pillion riding on scooters.
#CoronaVirusUpdate— Spokesperson, Ministry of Home Affairs (@PIBHomeAffairs) April 20, 2020
GoI to Kerala:
GoKerala has allowed opening of activities, prohibited under Consolidated Revised Guidelines on #Lockdown2 measures, issued by MHA on 15.04.2020 to fight #COVID19. @PMOIndia @HMOIndia @MoHFW_INDIA pic.twitter.com/s3I8gFWOjx
Telangana bans cooked food delivery services in state
Telangana on Sunday announced a ban on cooked food delivery services such as Swiggy and Zomato until further notice. The news comes in the backdrop of another development where a food delivery person was found infected with Covid-19 in Delhi, because of which 72 families in south Delhi had to be tracked and quarantined. Telangana also extended its lockdown to May 7.
Walmart earmarks Rs 46 cr for Covid-19 relief effort in India
Walmart, Flipkart and the Walmart Foundation have pledged Rs 38.3 crore to provide for personal protective equipment such as N95 masks and medical gowns, for distribution by non-government organizations (NGOs) to public healthcare workers, according to a statement on Saturday. The balance Rs 7.7 crore will be offered to Goonj and Srijan, NGOs that support farmers, rural communities and micro-businesses with essential relief materials, such as food, medicine and hygiene items. (Full Story)
India crosses 17,000 mark with confirmed cases
The total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in India stood at 17,265 as on April 20, 2020, at 8 AM, according to MoHFW. The tally includes 14,175 active cases, 2,546 people who have been cured/discharged and 543 fatalities.
Government prohibits supply of non-essential items through e-commerce
The Ministry of Home Affairs on Sunday issued an order to ban all supply and delivery of non-essential items through ecommerce. It was however clarified that e-commerce companies supplying essential goods have been exempted from lockdown restrictions. Vehicles used by e-commerce companies, engaged in supply of only essential goods, would be allowed to ply with necessary permissions. (Full Story)
India amends FDI policy to prevent opportunistic takeovers during pandemic
India on Saturday amended its foreign direct investment policy to mandate that all the investments from neighbouring countries, including China, would now require government approval. “The government has reviewed the extant foreign direct investment policy for curbing opportunistic takeovers/acquisitions of Indian companies due to the current Covid-19 pandemic,” the Department of Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade said.
Covid-19 cases reach 13,835 in the country, updated containment plan issued by MoHFW
The total number of positive cases for Covid-19 reached 13,835 on Friday with Maharashtra recording the highest number of confirmed cases at 3205. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare also issued an updated containment plan for large outbreaks, defined by over 15 cases in a given area, of Covid-19. the plan suggests measures including geographic quarantine and passive surveillance.
Microsoft aids govt orgs, healthcare firms in combat against Covid-19
Technology giant Microsoft said it has supported government organisations and companies in the healthcare sectors with technology and provided verified information on the pandemic to individuals. The company said its data tracking and information sharing Power BI toolkit helps governments publish updated Covid-19 data on their websites.
Google waives ad serving fee, launches journalism emergency relief fund
Search engine giant Google has waived off ad serving fee for news publishers across the world for five months to help them deal with the Covid-19 pandemic, the company said in a blog post. The announcement comes shortly after the company rolled out a global journalism emergency relief fund via Google News Initiative to support small and medium-sized news organisations producing original news for local communities.
Housejoy launches Housejoy Mart for delivery of essential items
Online home services company Housejoy has launched Housejoy Mart for delivery of essential items. Currently active in Bengaluru, Housejoy Mart will help deliver groceries, vegetables and other essential items to customers. The launch comes under the light of the lockdown due to Covid-19 and will enable customers to get everyday items without disruption, the company said in a statement.
Not enough official evidence to use BCG vaccine for Covid-19 : ICMR
BCG vaccine is effective only for 15 years and the existing studies suggest that for protection against Covid-19, it can be re-injected in adolescents, said Dr R Gangakhedkar, head of epidemiology and communicable diseases at ICMR. He added that ICMR has planned a study which starts next week for estimates on usage of BCG vaccine for fighting Covid-19. Till then there is no official position on usage of the vaccine for prevention.
Manufacture of test kits, ventilators for Covid-19 being scaled up : MoHFW
Approval system between MoHFW and scientific labs speeded up for Covid-19 research . We will scale up indigenous manufacture of RT-PCR kits in India with a targeted production of 10 lakh kits per month. By May we will be able to produce 10 lakh Rapid antibody testing kits. Capacity for manufacture of ventilators is at 6000 per month.
Doubling rate of confirmed cases has increased since implementation of lockdown : MoHFW
13,387 confirmed cases of Covid-19 till yesterday. Before lockdown, if the doubling rate was at 3 days, since implementation of lockdown, the national average for doubling rate has come down to 6.2 days over the last week, said joint secretary of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Lav Agarwal. 40% decline in growth factor of Covid-19 cases post March 30.
Stock markets end on a happy weekend note post RBI announcement
The markets closed trading this week at a one-month high on strong global cues and RBI announcements. Both the Sensex and Nifty closed above 3% at 31588.72 and 9266.75 respectively. The financial services sector led the gains with the Nifty Bank surging more than 7%.
DRDO develops two new products to help disinfection process
Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has introduced two new products to enable disinfection process in the country. One is automatic mist based sanitiser dispensing unit and the other is a UV sanitisation box.
DRDO Introduces two new products to enable COVID-19 disinfection process https://t.co/Xa8qwFio2G #COVID19#SayNo2Panic#SayYes2Precautions#MoDAgainstCorona#StayHomeIndia#IndiaFightsCorona pic.twitter.com/UNKzRUOGit— ADG (M&C) DPR (@SpokespersonMoD) April 17, 2020
Vahan and Airtel collaborate to help stranded blue-collar workers
Bengaluru-based AI tech startup Vahan, which matches blue-collar job seekers with employers, has joined hands with Bharti Airtel with the aim of bringing together their resources and using technology to connect such impacted workers in Delhi and Bengaluru with the nearest support centres and NGOs. Under the partnership, Airtel will launch a massive SMS campaign to reach all such impacted workers on its network.
Uber partners with Medlife to deliver medicines across 5 cities
Ride hailing major Uber has partnered with Medlife to provide residents across Kolkata, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Lucknow and Pune, access to prescription and other over-the-counter medicines, amidst the ongoing national lockdown.
Info provided through Aarogya Setu will be used only for medical intervention:NITI Aayog
The government will use information provided through Aarogya Setu only for medical intervention and people's data will never be used for any other purpose, All India Radio reported citing NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant. In a series of tweets, Kant said that privacy is key and the government has given it the highest level of importance.
.@SetuAarogya has the highest levels of privacy & the app never reveals the identity of any user or a #Covid_19 patient.— NITI Aayog (@NITIAayog) April 16, 2020
??? ????????? ?? ????????? ???? ???????? ?
I request every India to download this app: #NITIAayog CEO @amitabhk87
Link - https://t.co/HMlVV29hYi
Ola launches ‘Ola CONNECTS’ for govt
Ride hailing platform Ola has announced that it is offering its technology platform and capabilities to government and public service organisations across the country amidst the Covid-19 crisis through its newly launched Ola CONNECTS initiative. The service for real-time tracking and navigation can be used by the government for various use cases including alerts for deviation from geo-fenced controls and crowd and flow management for enforcing distancing norms.
Markets gain some, lose some in intra-day trading
The benchmark market indices started with a substantial rally this morning following gains in other Asian markets. The BSE Sensex was trading up 2% at 31212 and Nifty was up 166 points at 9159, correcting initial gains on trading post the RBI governor's speech. TCS, which announced its Q4 earnings yesterday, was trading up about 6%.
Hitachi Payment Services launches mobile ATM services in Ahmedabad
Hitachi Payment Services Pvt. Ltd (HPY), a wholly owned subsidiary of Hitachi Ltd, has launched its Hitachi Money Spot Mobile ATM service in Ahmedabad, to bring key banking services to the doorsteps of people amid the lockdown, it said in a statement. The service is operational since the initial days of the lockdown.
Reverse repo rate cut by 25 bps
The reverse repo rate was reduced 25 basis points to 3.75% from the existing rate of 4% by RBI today. The repo rate remained unchanged.
Special refinance facility for NABARD, SIDBI, NHB
RBI to provide special refinance package to NABARD, SIDBI and NHB of Rs 50,000 crore. Of this Rs 25,000 crore will go to NABARD, Rs 15,000 crore to SIDBI and Rs 10,000 crore to NHB.
RBI announces new measures for the second phase of lockdown
RBI governor announced new measures to maintain adequate liquidity in the system, facilitate bank credit flow, ease financial stress and enable formal functioning of markets.
No disruption in banking operations due to Covid-19 : RBI governor
There was no downtime of mobile or internet banking while ATM operations slowed at 91% from full capacity, said RBI governor Shaktikanta Das in a press briefing. He added that the banking operations remained normal. He further added that according to a report by IMF, India is projected to cling on to positive growth at 1.9%, the highest among the G20 countries.
India crosses 13,000 mark with confirmed cases
The total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in India stood at 13,387 as on April 17, 2020, at 8 AM, according to MoHFW. The tally includes 11,201 active cases, 1,748 people who have been cured and discharged and 437 fatalities.
India inches towards 13,000 mark with confirmed cases
The total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in India stood at 12,759 as on April 16, 2020, at 5 PM, according to MoHFW. The tally includes 10,824 active cases, 1,514 people who have been cured and discharged and 420 fatalities.
Medical institute in Kerala develops new test kit
Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology in Trivandrum, Kerala has developed a diagnostic test kit that can confirm Covid-19 in two hours at low cost. Funded by the Department of Science and Technology, a subset of the Ministry of Science and Technology, the test kit is called Chitra GeneLAMP-N. (Details)
Logistics platform Shiprocket to offer hyperlocal delivery of essentials
New Delhi-based ecommerce logistics and shipping software solution Shiprocket will provide hyperlocal delivery services for essential goods, in partnership with Bengaluru-based last-mile delivery service platform Shadowfax. It will facilitate same day and next day deliveries for food, groceries and pharmaceuticals. (Full Story)
Google to slow hiring in 2020
Technology giant Google will slow hiring for the rest of 2020, multiple media reports said, citing an internal memo to employees from CEO Sundar Pichai. Meanwhile, the company will maintain momentum in a small number of strategic areas where users and businesses rely on Google for ongoing support, and where the company’s growth is critical to their success, Pichai said.
Over 30,000 tests conducted on Wednesday, 5 lakh rapid test kits received : ICMR
Over 2.9 lakh tests for Covid-19 have been conducted so far of which 30,043 were conducted on Wednesday, said ICMR head of epidemiology and communicable diseases Dr R Gangakhedkar. The maximum testing capacity on a daily basis stands at a little over 78,000. He also said that 5 lakh rapid test kits have been received and will be used for surveillance.
Government bars all air, road, rail travel till May 3
All air, rail and road transport in the country will be barred till May 3, said the government of India. Restricted services to be provided by rickshaw, auto rickshaw and cab aggregators , said MHA spokesperson during a press briefing.
Markets close on a bullish note
Equity indices Sensex and Nifty closed on a positive note, following gains in European and Asian counterparts. BSE Sensex closed at 30,602.61 levels, up by 0.71%. NSE Nifty was up by 0.76% to 8,992.80 levels. IT stocks such as Tech Mahindra, HCL Tech and Infosys were among top losers of the day’s trade.
Paytm expects massive demand for electronics in ecommerce
There will be a surge in demand for massive demand for electronics and mobile phones and accessories in ecommerce marketplace Paytm Mall as many of consumers have been reaching out to know when the categories would be live again, Srinivas Mothey, senior vice president said in a statement on Thursday.E-commerce companies will start delivering non-essentials items starting from April 21 as per latest government guidelines.
Traders association writes to MHA, DPIIT opposing Odisha and Maharashtra government's decision to allow e-commerce operations
Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) has written to the Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of Industry and Commerce has flagged the decision of Odisha and Maharashtra state governments to allow all e-commerce deliveries. CAIT has said that the state governments have misinterpreted the guidelines issued by MHA to be followed during the lockdown which allows e-commerce companies to only deliver 'essential goods.'
SAP rolls out Bridge-IT app for verified COVID-19 news
German software multinational SAP has rolled out Bridge-IT app for customers and employees on SAP Cloud Platform Enterprise Agreement to access verified Covid-19 news. The app has partnered with WHO as well as local government guidance to provide localised updates on the pandemic. (Full Story)
ServiceNow makes no layoff pledge for 2020
Cloud-based digital workflow technology provider ServiceNow has said it will protect the jobs of its 11,000?plus global workforce through the calendar year of 2020, despite the economic uncertainty arising from the pandemic. The company also expects to keep hiring for new jobs worldwide this year, it said in a statement on Thursday.
Covid-19 cases Dharavi continue to rise
Dharavi, a slum area in Mumbai, Maharashtra has recorded 11 new coronavirus cases, according to a tweet from the Press Trust of India on Thursday afternoon. The virus hotbed now has a total of 71 cases recorded thus far. Maharashtra emerged to be the only Indian state with over 3,000 cases according to MoHFW data on Thursday morning.
Paytm launches features to conduct online events
In a joint venture, digital payments services company Paytm and event curation platform Insider on Thursday unveiled a platform to help event organisers can publish, ticket and manage digital events on its platform. It supports Zoom-based event publishing and will be adding support for more platforms soon, a statement on Thursday said. (Details)
Ola Group donates Rs 50 lakhs to Delhi CM relief fun
The Ola group of companies has pledged a sum of Rs 50 lakhs towards the Delhi Chief Minister’s Relief Fund (CMRF) to support Covid-19 relief measures in the city. The group of companies include various business units including its ride-hailing arm, Ola Mobility, Ola Financial Services, Ola Foods and Ola Electric.
It is our privilege at @Olacabs to contribute and partner in our state's fight against COVID-19 under the leadership of the Hon’ble CM @bsybjp ji. I thank the Hon'ble DCM @drashwathcn ji for his guidance and leadership for enabling various citizen initiatives like Ola Emergency. https://t.co/aYQHq2wLbR— Bhavish Aggarwal (@bhash) April 16, 2020
Non-profit GiveIndia raises Rs 75 cr for Covid-19 relief fund
Non-profit organisation GiveIndia has raised Rs 75 crore to provide relief to people affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Dubbed as India COVID Response Fund (ICRF), the fund aims to help one crore people in the country, mainly those living in hotspot areas. (Full Story)
Karnataka govt to decide on full e-commerce services
Karnataka will decide “in a day or two” whether to permit full ecommerce services and not just essential services for online delivery in the state from April 20, Economic Times reported on Thursday, citing deputy chief minister CN Ashwath Narayan.
WHO field staff to ramp up Covid-19 surveillance : MoHFW
Minister of Health and Family Welfare Dr Harsh Vardhan held a video conference with central and state health functionaries as well as WHO officials and field surveillance staff on Wednesday. Around 1000 WHO field personnel engaged will step up Covid-19 surveillance using Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme and Integrated Health Information Platform.
The key discussion points included engagement of @WHOSEARO field personnel for strengthening #COVID19 surveillance by leveraging the Integrated Health Information Platform & Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme .@WHO @MoHFW_INDIA #IndiaFightsCorona pic.twitter.com/jZ8Vbuymm6— Dr Harsh Vardhan (@drharshvardhan) April 15, 2020
Indices open low, Wipro Q4 results impact IT stocks
Indian indices opened weak with Sensex down by 0.81% with 246.25 points at 30133.60 and Nifty 50 down by 77.75 points at 8847.55. Wipro shares fell by 6% on Thursday after the company reported muted growth in revenue and profit numbers for fourth quarter on Wednesday. This had an impact on other IT stocks including Tech Mahindra and Infosys which fell 3.4% and 3.22% respectively.
The Aarogya Setu app, which was launched earlier in April to let people self-assess the risk of Covid-19 infection, has been updated with a new user interface and change of privacy policies. (Full Story)
India crosses 12,000 mark with confirmed cases
The total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in India stood at 12,380 as on April 16, 2020, at 8 AM, according to MoHFW. The tally includes 10,477 active cases, 1,488 people who have been cured and discharged and 414 fatalities.
Cisco launches $2.5 bn relief programme
Enterprise networking solutions provider Cisco has launched a $2.5 billion financial relief programme for its customers and partners to help mitigate the economic challenges of Covid-19. (Full Story)
Capgemini offers promotions, salary hikes
IT services firm Capgemini has offered increments and promotions for its employees, at a time when the sector is staring at a bleak quarter and economic downturn, resulting from the pandemic. The company has made variable payouts to all eligible employees, the company. (Full Story)
Wipro reserves Q1 earnings guidance
IT services firm Wipro on Wednesday said it would defer its forecast revenue for the next quarter, citing volatility in the external environment caused by the pandemic. (Full Story)
Confirmed Covid-19 cases in India at 11,933
The total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in India stood at 11,933 as on April 15, 2020, at 5 PM, according to the MoHFW. This included 10,197 active cases and 392 fatalities. 1,343 people have been cured and discharged.
UberMedic scales to 10 cities
Cab aggregator Uber’s recently launched UberMedic service for transporting frontline healthcare workers is now live across ten cities -- New Delhi, Noida, Mumbai, Kolkata, Pune, Chennai, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Lucknow and Patna. Currently, 18 hospitals such as Sri Ganga Ram Hospital, Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, Safdarjung Hospital, Metropolis Healthcare, GHV Advanced Care Pvt Ltd and State Health Society, Bihar are using UberMedic, the company said in a statement.
MAIT thanks govt for allowing IT hardware manufacturing to restart
Manufacturers Association for Information Technology’s (MAIT) president Nitin Kunkolienker appreciates and thank the govt for allowing IT hardware manufacturing to continue their work. “This move was the need of the hour as all digital and communication highways are built using electronic and ICT products; this was extremely essential as all utilities need these products otherwise imports would have catered to this pent up demand for ICT products estimated at $2.5 billion per month,” he said in a statement to TechCircle. MAIT had been urging the government to include manufacturing, sales, and servicing of ICT products, including mobile phones in essential services during the nationwide lockdown.
Huawei offers connectivity solutions with its AI-assisted technology
Huawei is providing technological services in artificial intelligence (AI), video conferencing, wireless network coverage and smartphones to nations across Asia Pacific, the company said in a statement. It has joined hands with countries like Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Bangladesh and others to address on-ground communication challenges, ensuring connectivity and supporting essential services with innovative technologies during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Districts to be divided into 3 categories: Health Min
The districts of the country will be classified into 3 categories - hot spot districts, non-hot spot districts but where cases are being reported and green zone districts, said Lav Agrawal, Joint Secretary of Ministry of Health.
House to house survey in containment zones: Health Min
Health ministry in a press briefing today said that the government has appointed Special teams that will work in containment zones and conduct house to house survey. Cases of fever, cough and breathlessness will be identified in the survey and requisite action will be taken as per protocol.
Health facilities in buffer zone will be oriented and people facing SARS and influenza-like symptoms will be tested there; special teams working in containment zone will do contact tracing and house-to-house survey - @MoHFW_INDIA #IndiaFightsCoronahttps://t.co/umJ2OmQa2w— PIB India ???????? #StayHome #StaySafe (@PIB_India) April 15, 2020
Stock markets record sharp intraday slide; bank, auto stocks slip
The BSE Sensex closed 310 points lower as the HDFC, Reliance and Kotak Bank stocks fell in sync with the global Covid-19 slump. FMCG, IT and metal stocks offered a small breather. Nifty closed at 8925.
Trump cuts World Health Organization funding
President Donald Trump has said that he will halt funding to the World Health Organization over its handling of the coronavirus pandemic. He added that WHO has failed in its basic duty and it must be held accountable.
Monster launches ‘Work from Home Jobs’ for seekers
Online job search portal Monster has added a new feature to help recruiters in taking the advantage of the growing interest in work from home jobs due to Covid-19 outbreak. We observed a 60% increase in the number of users landing on the Monster platform using work from home job searches, the company said in a statement.
Looking at 15-20% workforce being back at office premises: NASSCOM President
NASSCOM President Debjani Ghosh has given a thumbs up to government’s (MHA) directive of letting 50% of the IT sector get back to work. “Our back to work guidance to the industry would be a phased approach (15-20% workforce in Phase 1) with stringent safety measures in place,” she said.
Am very glad to see the directive from #MoH today with clear guidelines on opening up the economy in a phased manner, with adequate safety measures in place. @Nasscom has issued a Back to Work SOP to members and recommend 15-20% btw in phase 1. https://t.co/iMgkKzjLdz— debjani ghosh (@debjani_ghosh_) April 15, 2020
Bosch India pledges Rs 50 crore to combat Covid-19 spread in India
Bosch Group in India has donated Rs 5 crore to PM CARES fund and pledged additional Rs 45 crore for various community welfare initiatives as a part of its Corporate Social Responsibility initiative. The company has also started welfare initiatives to help the underprivileged. It has been supplying cooked meals from its kitchen in Bidadi plant and through the Art of Living Foundation to about 4,000 migrant workers and other needy individuals, on a daily basis, the company said in a statement.
Aarogya Setu has 50 million users in 13 days
Faircent to facilitate affordable credit for those affected by Covid-19
P2P lending platform Faircent.com has launched a new loan offering called ‘anti-lockdown loans’ to help credit-worthy businesses and individuals access credit to meet short-term liquidity needs that have arisen due to the nation-wide lockdown enforced to avoid the spread of Coronavirus pandemic, the company said in a statement.
Positive global cues boost opening trades in stock markets
Indian benchmark indices opened higher today on the back of positive global cues. While the BSE Sensex gained around 800 points, the NSE Nifty was at above 9,200, led by banks and pharma stocks. All major IT stocks barring HCL Tech are also trading positive.
Confirmed cases in Maharashtra cross 3,000
The death toll in Maharashtra on account of the Covid-19 pandemic rose to 178, as on April 15, 2020, at 8 AM, according to the MoHFW. The total number of confirmed cases in the state stood at 3,124. This morning, five new cases were reported from Dharavi taking the tally of infected peopele in Asia's largest slum to 60, according to media reports.
Confirmed Covid-19 cases in India at 11,439
The total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in India stood at 11,439 as on April 15, 2020, at 8 AM, according to the MoHFW. This included 9,756 active cases and 377 fatalities. 1,305 people have been cured and discharged.
InMobi revises compensation structure for employees
Advertising technology firm InMobi has rolled out a revised compensation structure for its employees due to loss in business during the Covid-19 lockdown. According to a LinkedIn post by Naveen Tewari, founder and CEO InMobi Group, the employees will now receive a portion of their salary in the form of stock instead of cash, effective April 2020.
Maha is probably testing the highest: CM
Maharashtra, the worst hit Indian state in the Covid-19 outbreak, is probably doing the highest number of tests, chief minister Udhhav Thackeray said on Tuesday. Mumbai has tested over 22,000 samples, Thackeray added. The state which houses the country’s financial capital has recorded the highest number of cases, standing at 2,337 as on Tuesday evening, according to MoHFW. There is a shortage of equipment and ventilators and this is a global issue, the CM added. About the incident in Bandra railway station, Thackeray said the people gathered because they thought that from April 14, train services would resume.
CM Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray addressing the State https://t.co/HXEtsr8eqL— CMO Maharashtra (@CMOMaharashtra) April 14, 2020
Microsoft offers AccountGuard to frontline workers for free
Technology giant Microsoft has made its cyberthreat detection service AccountGuard free of cost to healthcare providers on the front lines as well as human rights and humanitarian organizations around the world, Tom Burt, corporate vice president of the company’s customer security and trust division said in a blogpost on Tuesday. The development comes at a time, when Microsoft has detected and responded to attacks targeting the healthcare sector and human rights organisations across the globe, Burt said. Healthcare organizations can sign up here, and human rights and humanitarian organizations can sign up here.
Cyberattacks are targeting healthcare and human rights workers fighting COVID-19. To help protect them during this time of crisis Microsoft is making our #AccountGuard threat notification service available to them at no cost. https://t.co/xuHD17pzPD— Tom Burt (@TomBurt45) April 14, 2020
Confirmed Covid-19 cases in India more than double in 6 days
The number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in India stood at 10,815 as on April 14 at 5 PM, according to MoHFW. The number has more than doubled since April 8, when the figure stood at 5,274. The current tally includes 9,272 active cases and 1,189 people who have been cured or discharged. 353 people have succumbed to the disease.
Government issues consolidated guidelines for extension of national lockdown
Ministry of Home Affairs on Tuesday released a consolidated copy of the guidelines to be followed during the extension of Covid-19 related national lockdown till May 3. The guidelines state that those involved in essential services will be given exemption and person found violating the measures can be charged with legal action under Sec 188 of IPC which involved disobedience of order promulgated by public servant.
#IndiaFightsCorona— Spokesperson, Ministry of Home Affairs (@PIBHomeAffairs) April 14, 2020
In pursuance of PM @narendramodi's announcement today, Government of India issues Orders prescribing extension of #lockdown for containment of #COVID19 epidemic in the country, till 3rd May 2020.#StaySafeStayHome pic.twitter.com/q1iPixTZtS
‘Great Lockdown’ to shrink global economy by 3% in 2020: IMF
The global economy is expected to shrink by 3% in 2020 amid the ‘Great Lockdown’ prompted by the Covid-19 outbreak, marking the worst recession since the Great Depression of the 20th century and far worse than the global financial crisis of the over a decade ago, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said on Tuesday. The global economy is projected to grow by 5.8% in 2021, if the pandemic fades in the second half of 2020, containment efforts can be gradually unwound and economic activity normalizes with policy support. The risks for even more severe outcomes, however, are substantial, IMF added.
The latest #WEO projects a sharp contraction for the global economy to -3% in 2020 and a partial rebound to 5.8% in 2021 provided economic activity normalizes. However, uncertainty is exceptionally high. See projections by region. #IMFBlog https://t.co/93xXDRsg3B pic.twitter.com/7Zag8ktkfv— IMF (@IMFNews) April 14, 2020
Migrant labourers crowd at Mumbai rly station to get back home
Migrant labourers flooded Bandra’s West railway station in Mumbai, Maharashtra, in demand to get back home, according to multiple reports online. Maharashtra is the worst hit state in the country amidst the Covid-19 outbreak. The visuals from the Bandra station show a massive crowd gathered. Police authorities had to resort to lathi-charge to disperse the crowd.
33 lakh RT-PCR kits and 37 lakh rapid kits ordered for Covid-19 testing : ICMR
India has enough kits to test Covid-19 patients for another six weeks. ICMR head for epidemiology and communicable diseases Dr R Gangakhedkar said that an additional 33 lakh RT-PCR kits for testing Covid-19 samples had been ordered by India and 37 lakh rapid test kits was expected to arrive soon.
Mahindra Logistics launches free emergency cab service in Mumbai
Third-party logistics solution provider Mahindra Logistics said that its enterprise mobility business Alyte will extend free emergency cab services for those affected by the Covid-19 pandemic in Mumbai. The service can be availed via +91-9867097665. The development comes days after it launched the service in Hyderabad, New Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata and Kochi, it said in a statement on Monday.
Co-founders of Cars24 to forgo salary for next six months
Online marketplace for used car platform Cars24’s four co-founders will forgo six months of salaries, to keep the financial wheel running at the company and ensure salaries of employees, it said in a statement on Monday. The company has also introduced a voluntary pay cut for employees in the form of investing in employee stock ownership plans (ESOP) of the company, while getting ESOPs of 2 times the amount they invest.
FabHotels adopts WHO-compliant safety measures at properties
Budget hotels brand FabHotels has adopted WHO(world health organization)-compliant pre-emptive safety measures at its over 600 properties across India, it said in a statement on Tuesday. It also said it is also offering quarantine facilities to stranded guests at government prescribed rates, to support the country’s fight against the outbreak.
Microsoft to pledge $20 mn for Covid-19 research
Technology giant Microsoft will dedicate $20 million towards Covid-19 research in a bid to mobilise its ‘AI for Health’ initiative. The five year plan, launched earlier in 2020, will help non-profits, researchers and organisations with artificial intelligence (AI) and data science tools.
HPE commits $2 bn to help customers
HPE Financial Services, the financial services arm of Hewlett Packard Enterprise, has earmarked over $2 billion to help customers with financial challenges such as liquidity and cash-flow issues stemming from the Covid-19 crisis. It has introduced a payment relief programme to help customers acquire new technology and alleviate financial concerns.
Uber launches emergency travel services in select cities
Ride hailing startup Uber has launched Uber Essentials to provide emergency travel services in the cities of Mumbai, Bengaluru, Nashik, Hyderabad and Gurugram. The app will facilitate urgent travel needs to hospitals, the San Francisco headquartered company said in a statement. Riders can check the availability of an Uber and the nearest hospital on the app.
TikTok pledges $375 mn to Covid-19 relief efforts
ByteDance-owned short video platform TikTok has pledged $250 million to support front line medical workers, educators, and local communities deeply affected by the Covid-19 crisis. It will also donate $25 million in ads, it said, to help organizations deliver crucial public health information and an additional $100 million in ad credits as businesses look to rebuild.
MLE sets up control rooms to address labour-related grievances
The Ministry of Labour and Employment has set up 20 control rooms under the Office of Chief Labour Commissioner on a pan India basis due to issues arising in the backdrop of Covid-19. These control rooms have been set up for the purposes of wage related grievances of workers employed and to mitigate the problems of migrant workers through coordination with various state governments. Workers can contact the facility through region-wise contact details, here.
MSDE provides personnel to states for Covid-19 efforts
The Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship has provided contact details of 1,75,000 health sector professionals trained under its Skill ecosystem to states, for services of isolation and quarantine duties under Covid-19. The trained professionals include health workers, emergency medical technicians, general duty assistants, phlebotomy technicians, home health aid technicians amongst others, according to a statement here.
ICMR says Covid-19 transferable from mother to baby: PTI
Indian Council of Medical Research has said that emerging evidence suggests transmission of the Covid-19 from mother to baby before birth or during delivery is possible, according to news wire agency PTI.
Adequate medical and ration supplies for national lockdown : PM
In his address to nation on Tuesday, the PM said that 1 lakh beds have been demarcated for treatment of Covid-19 patients and 600 hospitals were equipped for the same across the country. He added that the country had adequate medical and essential goods supplies for the period of the national lockdown. The PM also advised people to download the Aarogya Setu app, use homemade masks and to follow Ayush Ministry guidelines for improving immunity.
Relaxation for farmers, daily wagers : PM
Farmers will be given relaxation from the national lockdown provisions for the upcoming Rabi crop harvest season said PM Modi in his address to the nation on Tuesday. He further added that provisions for protecting the rights of daily wage workers will be given priority in the guidelines to be issued for the second phase of the national lockdown which will extend to May 3.
Dharavi records 2 more deaths; Maharashtra’s death toll stands at 160
Two more deaths and six more positive cases of Covid-19 were detected in the Dharavi area of Mumbai, Maharashtra as the slum emerged as a hotspot. Total positive cases in the area now at 55 and related deaths at 7, ANI tweeted citing Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC). The total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in Maharashtra is 2,334 as on April 14, 2020, at 8 AM, according to MoHFW. This included 217 cured and discharged cases. The total number of deaths in the state stood at 160.
6 more #COVID19 positive cases & 2 more deaths related to the virus reported in Dharavi area of Mumbai. Total positive cases in the area now at 55 & related deaths at 7: Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) #Maharashtra pic.twitter.com/qbzCWlYorG— ANI (@ANI) April 14, 2020
Lockdown extended till May 3, says PM
The Covid-19 lockdown in India has been extended till May 3, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in a televised address to the nation on Tuesday. For one week till April 12, lockdown was advised to be strictly followed, in the fight against Covid 19, wherein all districts and states will be watched closely. States and regions that do not see an increase in the number of the Covid-19 hotspots, will see some relaxation on the lockdown post one week. Detailed guidelines on the same will be released by the central government on Wednesday, Modi said.
Pichai donates Rs 5 cr to Give India’s Covid-19 efforts
Alphabet and Google CEO Sundar Pichai has donated Rs 5 crore to non-governmental crowdfunding platform Give India, and matched Google’s earlier donation of Rs 5 crore to the platform, according to a tweet from the organization’s official Twitter handle.
Thank you @sundarpichai for matching @Googleorg 's ?5 crore grant to provide desperately needed cash assistance for vulnerable daily wage worker families. Please join our #COVID19 campaign: https://t.co/T9bDf1MXiv @atulsatija— GiveIndia (@GiveIndia) April 13, 2020
Covid-19 cases in India soar over 10,000; Death toll at 339
The total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in India stood at 10,363 as on April 14 at 8 AM, according to MoHFW. The tally includes 8,988 active cases and 1,035 people who have been cured or discharged. 339 people have succumbed to the disease.
Amazon extends Amazon Relief Fund to delivery partners in India
United States based e-commerce giant Amazon has extended the ‘Amazon Relief Fund’ to partners who work at its Delivery Service Partner Program, Amazon Flex program and it’s trucking partners who provide middle mile logistics support in the event of financial hardships owing to Covid-19. The fund can be utilized by qualifying individuals who have been quarantined or diagnosed with Covid-19.
New tech investments to be delayed by three months: ISG report
Global enterprises are set to delay their spending decisions by 90 days due to the Covid-19 pandemic, says technology research firm ISG. The report shows sharp contraction in managed services deal ACV (annual contract value) in the April-June period due to supply and demand challenges due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The firm also estimates a significant cut in discretionary spending in 2020, as it accounts for 30% of the total information technology (IT) budget for the enterprises.
Fintech firm ClearScore shuts India operations, lays off six people
London-headquartered fintech firm ClearScore has closed its India operations as the Covid-19 pandemic had an adverse impact on its business in the country. Hrushikesh Mehta, country manager for India at the company, told TechCircle that the move will affect six people, including himself. The employees were part of the business development team and will leave the company by next month, he added.
Covid-19 death toll in India at 324; confirmed cases at 9,352
The total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in India stood at 9,352 as on April 13, 2020, at 5 PM, according to the MoHFW. This included 8,048 active cases and 979 people who have been cured and discharged. The total number of deaths due to the disease stood at 324.
Portea Medical launches Chemotherapy at home for cancer patients
Home healthcare company Portea Medical has launched Chemotherapy at home services in Delhi, Bengaluru, Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad and Kolkata. The service is intended to benefit people with cancer who have been undergoing chemotherapy at hospitals and are at a higher risk of developing infections in light of Covid-19.
Facebook launches online resource for digital learning using Facebook tools
Social networking giant Facebook has launched an online resource guide titled, ‘Supporting Education Communities: An Online Learning Resources Guide’. The online resource will guide education communities on how to collaborate and continue the learning process using Facebook products, tools and programs while also providing information related to COVID-19 from authentic sources. Currently, the guide is available in English, Hindi, Marathi, Gujarati and Kannada.
Housejoy to raise funds from donors for daily wage earners
Home services company Housejoy has partnered with GiveIndia, an online donation platform, for a campaign to raise funds for their network of daily wage workers in view of Covid-19. The fund will support the daily wage earners till the pandemic abates.
Core strategy group formed by CSIR for Covid-19 research
The Government of India backed Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has formed a core strategy group along with 38 labs. The strategy group will be working on digital and molecular surveillance, rapid and economical diagnostics and development of new drugs, repurposing existing drugs for Covid-19 and associated production processes.
Truck drivers will not need pass for ferrying goods within the state or inter-state trips : MHA
The Ministry of Home Affairs has written to the state government to clarify that inter-state and intra-state movement of all trucks and goods carriers is allowed under the current lockdown, irrespective of the category of goods whether essential or non-essential. No additional permit will be required for the movement. Apart from the truck driver, an additional person is allowed to travel for goods movement.
Markets erase last week’s gains
Monday blues hit the Indian stock markets as the BSE Sensex dropped 470 points and NSE Nifty gave up 9,000. Auto and financial stocks slumped at the close of trading today.
Odd-even rule to be implemented in Delhi's wholesale markets
The Delhi government will implement odd-even rules in all wholesale markets in the city, under which traders will sell vegetables on alternate days, multiple media reports said citing Development Minister Gopal Rai. According to the rule, vegetables will be sold from 6 am to 11 am & fruits from 2 pm to 6 pm.
SC modifies free Corona testing order
Supreme Court of India has modified its ‘free Corona testing’ order saying that the government can choose the categories which it sees fit for free testing, media reports said. The modification of the order was followed by ICMR (Indian Council of Medical Research) seeking withdrawal of previous SC order of free Covid-19 tests.
PM Modi to address the nation at 10 AM tomorrow
PM Narendra Modi will address the nation at 10 am tomorrow, the Prime Minister's Office said. It is likely that the PM is going to talk about the extension of the 21-day lockdown period which ends tomorrow.
Prime Minister @narendramodi will address the nation at 10 AM on 14th April 2020.— PMO India (@PMOIndia) April 13, 2020
ICMR seeks withdrawal of SC order of free Covid-19 tests
ICMR (Indian Council of Medical Research) seeks withdrawal of Supreme Court's order on free Coronavirus test and defends capping of fee at Rs 4,500, various media reports said.
Yulu steps up to support home delivery of essential goods
Bike rental platform Yulu has partnered with several e-commerce and hyper-local delivery segments to ensure the supply of essential goods to the citizens who are stranded in their homes during the Covid-19 lockdown, the startup said in a statement. The company is enabling the delivery of everyday essentials for companies such as BigBasket, Licious, Dunzo, Medlife, Lalamove, AutoBrix, etc using its EVs.
Zomato floats relief fund to protect riders from Covid-19 impact
Food delivery startup Zomato has launched a relief fund for riders registered on its platform to enable them to tide over loss of earnings due to the ongoing Covid-19 or Coronavirus pandemic. The initiative, termed as Rider Relief Fund, aims to garner Rs 10 crore from donors to provide funds to riders for buying rations and medical emergencies, a statement said.
An appeal to everyone to donate to the Zomato Rider Relief Fund, so that we can help our rider community see the other side of this dark tunnel.— Deepinder Goyal (@deepigoyal) April 12, 2020
Details here –https://t.co/uN4WK5iCoC
Donations made to PM CARES will qualify as CSR: Corporate Affairs ministry
Companies can fulfil their corporate social responsibility (CSR) obligations through donations made to the Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations (PM CARES) Fund, the corporate affairs ministry clarified. MCA added that any contribution made to the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund or State Relief Fund for COVID-19 will not be included in CSR expenditure.
Dating platform QuackQuack sees 80% surge during lockdown
Hyderabad-based dating platform QuackQuack is witnessing a surge of 80% in their user-base post the lockdown announcement, the company said in a statement. The platform claims to have over 8 million active users and is on-boarding 18,000 new users per day since the announcement. The user chats on the app have also gone up from 350k chats per day to 500k chats per day.
Facebook sues Indian techie for running fake news on Covid-19
Social networking giant Facebook has filed a lawsuit against an Indian techie for running a software company that published deceptive advertisements and misinformation about coronavirus outbreak on social media platforms by bypassing its advertising review process.
AIMTCA demands insurance package for truck drivers
All India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTCA) has demanded an insurance package for the truck drivers and assistants who are engaged in maintaining the supply chain of essential commodities during the nationwide lockdown on the lines of frontline health workers.
Markets open lower amid weak global cues
Benchmark indices Sensex and Nifty started the week on a slight bearish note today, backed by weak global cues. BSE Sensex opened 200 points lower at 30,971 and NSE Nifty fell 16 points to 9,095.
Traders body representatives seek relief on dues on video conference with Piyush Goyal
Around 100 representatives of state traders bodies held a video conference with the minister of commerce Piyush Goyal on Sunday, proposing relief measures for the sector including a grace period of payment of utility and statutory payments, in view of the Covid-19 lockdown. The traders and MSMEs affiliated to Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) also asked for an interest rate subvention of 3% on standard loans and asked to defer the employer’s contribution to provident fund / ESIC by a period of six months.
Maharashtra continues to be worst hit from Covid-19; 1,985 confirmed cases
The total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in Maharashtra is 1,985 as on April 13, 2020, at 8 AM, according to the MoHFW. This included 217 cured and discharged cases. The total number of deaths in the state stood at 149.
Covid-19 death toll in India crosses 300; confirmed cases at 9,152
The total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in India continues to rise and stood at 9,152 as on April 13, 2020, at 8 AM, according to the MoHFW. This included 7,987 active cases and 856 people who have been cured and discharged. The total number of deaths due to the disease stood at 308.
Confirmed Covid-19 cases in India at 7,529
The total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in India stood at 7,529 as on April 11, 2020, at 5 PM, according to the MoHFW. This included 6,634 active cases and 242 deaths. A total of 652 people have been cured or discharged.
Lockdown in Maharashtra to continue till April 30: CM Thackeray
Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray said on Saturday that the lockdown in the state would be extended till April 30, 2020.
Maharashtra is currently the worst hit state in the country by the Covid-19 pandemic. The state had 1,872 confirmed cases as on April 11, 2020, at 5 PM, according to the MoHFW.
"We have no option but to extend the lockdown beyond April 14. This will go on till at least April 30... We will grant relaxations in some areas, and also increase curbs in others to prevent transmission as there is no option," Thackeray said in a series of tweets.
State chief ministers seek lockdown extension in meeting with PM Modi
Prime minister Narendra Modi interacted with chief ministers of all states via video conferencing today to strategize ahead on tackling Covid-19. This was the third such interaction. The earlier ones had been held on April 2 and March 20, 2020. The prime minister observed that the combined effort of the Centre and the States has definitely helped reduce the impact of Covid-19 but since the situation was rapidly evolving, constant vigilance was paramount. He emphasized the criticality of the coming 3-4 weeks to determine the impact of the steps taken till now to contain the virus.
The chief ministers suggested that the nationwide lockdown be extended by two weeks. They also sought financial and fiscal assistance from the central government to boost their resources in the fight against the pandemic.
Listen: How India's enterprise and emerging technology sector coped with Covid-19 this week
The Covid-19 crisis has sent several businesses into a tailspin and companies across the technology spectrum have had to layoff people, cut salaries and revise their earnings forecasts for the current financial year. Catch up with all the big news developments from the week in our TechThisWeek podcast.
Singapore suspends the use of Zoom by school teachers
The Singapore government has banned the use of video conferencing platform Zoom by schools and teachers after a series of incidents including the appearance of obscene images during streaming lessons according to multiple media reports. Singapore entered its first week of a lockdown in the wake of the global coronavirus outbreak schools have started taking lessons online. “The Ministry of Education (MOE) is currently investigating both breaches and will lodge a police report if warranted… As a precautionary measure, our teachers will suspend their use of Zoom until these security issues are ironed out,” Aaron Loh from the education ministry’s technology division said, according to a Reuters report. Singapore become the second country to suspend the use of Zoom after Germany and Taiwan.
ADB lines up $2.2 bn relief package for India
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is preparing a $2.2 billion assistance package for India’s health sector, informal workers and micro, small and medium sized enterprises. “ADB is committed to supporting India’s emergency needs. We are now preparing $2.2 billion in immediate assistance to the health sector and to help alleviate the economic impact of the pandemic on the poor; informal workers; micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises; and the financial sector,” ADB president Masatsugu Asakawa said in a statement on Friday. “ADB assistance for India will be further increased if needed. We will consider all financing options available with us to meet India’s needs, including emergency assistance, policy-based loans, and budget support to facilitate swift disbursement of ADB funds,” Asakawa said.
Flipkart ties up with Tata Consumer Products for essentials supply
Walmart-owned Flipkart has entered into a partnership with Tata Consumer Products to enable consumers to access essential food and beverage products. Tata Consumer Products’ distributors will be listed as marketplace sellers on the Flipkart platform. Consumers can use the Flipkart platform to buy combo packs of essential products such as beverages and foods offered by Tata Consumer Products. The partnership is already operational in Bengaluru and the companies plan to expand these facilities in Mumbai and Delhi in the coming week and Tier 2 towns in the future, the company said in a statement.
Microsoft 'AI for Health' initiative to back Covid-19 research
Microsoft is committing $20 million to mobilise its AI for Health initiative in aid of those on the frontlines of Covid-19 research. The grant will empower non-profits, researchers and organisations with AI and capabilities to advance the health of people and communities around the world, the Redmond headquartered company said in a statement. The efforts to support Covid-19 related research will focus on five areas — data and insights, treatment and diagnostics, allocation of resources, dissemination of accurate information and scientific research.
Confirmed cases in Delhi at 941
National capital Delhi reported a total of 941 confirmed Covid-19 cases as on April 11, 2020, at 8 AM, according to MoHFW. This included 903 active cases and 13 deaths.
Maharashtra death toll at 110; Confirmed cases in Mumbai cross 1,000
Confirmed Covid-19 cases in Maharashtra stood at 1,872 as on April 11, 2020, at 8 AM, according to the MoHFW. This included 1,574 active cases. Mumbai alone reported 218 fresh cases on Friday taking the city's tally of active cases to 1,008, BMC said. The death toll in the state continued to rise and stood at 110 at last count, the highest in the country.
India fatalities at 239; confirmed cases touch 7,447
Confirmed Covid-19 cases in India stood at 7,447 as on April 11, 2020, at 8 AM according to the MoHFW. 239 people have succumbed to the disease. The number of active cases stood at 6,565 and a total of 642 people were cured or discharged.
Apple, Google in rare collaboration to help fight pandemic
In a rare development, technology giants Apple and Google have teamed up to build a contact tracing solution using smartphone technology that will alert people on whether and when they have been in contact with someone who has contracted Covid-19. "...Google and Apple are announcing a joint effort to enable the use of Bluetooth technology to help governments and health agencies reduce the spread of the virus, with user privacy and security central to the design," the companies said in a joint statement on Friday.
"To help public health officials slow the spread of #COVID19, Google & Apple are working on a contact tracing approach designed with strong controls and protections for user privacy. Tim Cook and I are committed to working together on these efforts,” Google CEO Sundar Pichai tweeted.
PM to decide on lockdown extension after meeting with CMs
Prime minister Narendra Modi is expected to take a decision on extending the ongoing 21-day lockdown following a video conference meeting with state chief ministers later today. Two states -- Odisha and Punjab -- have already announced their decision to extend the lockdown till the end of the month.
Punjab govt extends lockdown to May 1
The Punjab government has taken a decision to extend the ongoing 21-day lockdown in the state till May 1, following a state cabinet meeting on Friday. Chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh is expected to communicate the decision to prime minister Narendra Modi at the chief ministers' virtual conference today.
Covid-19 fatalities in India cross 200
Confirmed Covid-19 cases in India stood at 6,761 as on April 10, 2020, at 5 PM, according to the MoHFW. The number of fatalities breached the 200 mark. The number of active cases stood at 6,039.
Naspers arm Prosus commits Rs 100 cr to PM CARES fund
Prosus, the entity that holds South African conglomerate Naspers’ international internet assets, has committed Rs 100 crore to the Indian government’s response to the Covid-19 crisis. The donation will be made to the PM CARES fund, it said in a statement. Prosus has invested more than $5 billion in Indian technology businesses including Swiggy and Byju’s.
More than 1.4 mn people infected with Covid-19 globally
More than 1.4 million people have been inflected globally by Covid-19 since its outbreak early this year. At last count, the disease had claimed 87,987 lives and had affected more than 200 countries, according to the World Health Organisation. The Unites States has become the epicenter of the disease with the highest number of confirmed cases at 425,889 and fatalities at 14,665.
Milkbasket launches helpline for grocery deliveries to senior citizens
Milkbasket has launched a helpline to deliver groceries to senior citizens. The service will be available in Noida (9560303453, 8178738862), Gurgaon 97505411433, 6305577498), Bengaluru (6366683440, 7619558743), and Hyderabad (8309834392), the company said in a statement. In contrast to the daily delivery model, this service will provide bulk delivery of groceries to individuals or a group of houses. “Numerous customer requests made us realize that senior citizens need special measures to adapt to contactless grocery deliveries… we have enabled call/ WhatsApp ordering for them in all the cities we operate in,” CEO Anant Goel said.
Flipkart partners with ICICI Lombard, Digit Insurance for health insurance policies
Walmart-owned Flipkart has partnered with ICICI Lombard and Digit Insurance to launch launch health insurance policies on its platform that distinctly cover Covid-19. The two group health insurance policies — COVID-19 Protection Cover from ICICI Lombard and Digit Illness Group Insurance — come with instant claim benefits and do not require any medical tests at the time of purchase, the company said in a statement.
Paytm launches health insurance plan in partnership with Reliance
Paytm has launched the COVID-19 Benefit Insurance Policy in collaboration with Reliance General Insurance. The insurance plan offers a maximum of Rs. 2 lakhs and covers positive diagnosis, 14-day quarantine, loss of pay or jobs. The policy provides 100% sum-insured in lumpsum on being tested positive for the virus and the patient does not need to wait for the entire treatment to get completed to receive the financial help, said a statement.
InCred launches donation drive for daily wage earners
InCred has launched the #InCredForHumanity campaign in association with non-profit Goonj and The Art of Living Foundation to support the daily wage earners with essential food supplies. As part of the campaign, InCred has initiated a donation drive across various social media platforms. All proceeds will be collected by Goonj and will be used to deliver comprehensive family kits of essentials (such as dry ration, personal care material, etc.) to more than a million people, it said in a statement.
Maharashtra Covid-19 death toll at 97
The Covid-19 crisis continues to worsen in Maharashtra, home to the country's financial capital Mumbai. The number of comfirmed cases stood at 1,586 as on April 10, 2020, at 8 AM, according to the MoHFW. This includes 1,364 active cases and 97 fatalities. 125 cases have been cured or discharged.
Covid-19 death toll in India rises to 199; confirmed cases near 6,500
The Covid-19 crisis deepens in India as confirmed cases and related deaths in the country continue to accelerate. The number of confirmed cases stood at 6,412 as on April 10, 2020, at 8 AM, according to the MoHFW. This included 199 fatalities.
Layoffs, furloughs at Yelp
San Francisco headquartered classifieds and reviews platform Yelp is laying off 1,000 employees and will furlough approximately 1,100 more, while reducing hours for others, the company's co-founder and CEO Jeremy Stoppelman said in an internal email to employees. "We came to this decision as a last resort only after cutting non-employee expenses where possible... We have implemented cost savings at the top, including 20-30% pay cuts for all execs," Stoppelman said in the letter, which has been posted on the Yelp blog on Thursday.
TikTok pledges $250 million in aid of frontline medical workers, others fighting Covid-19 crisis
Bytedance owned short video platform TikTok has committed $250 million to support front line medical workers, educators, and local communities affected by the global Covid-19 crisis. Further commitments include $25 million in ads to help trusted organizations deliver crucial public health information and $100 million in ad credits as businesses look to rebuild, the company said in a statement on Thursday. "Looking ahead, TikTok will be actively seeking more ways to contribute, including identifying the most effective ways to allocate these remaining funds to support ongoing relief needs,” it said. Earlier, TikTok donated medical equipment and supplies worth Rs 100 crore to India.
Cognizant withdraws 2020 earnings guidance due to Covid-19 impact
In the first instance of the adverse impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the IT services outsourcing sector, Teaneck, New Jersey headquartered Cognizant has withdrawn the earnings guidance it had provided for the current financial year earlier in February. "Entering the second quarter, Cognizant expects the pandemic to further reduce client demand as its societal and economic impact causes broader disruptions across industries... given the unprecedented nature of this crisis, uncertainty around its duration and its impact on our ability to forecast performance, the Company is withdrawing its 2020 guidance that was provided on February 5, 2020," the company said in a statement on Thursday. Read more here.
Confirmed Covid-19 cases in India at 5,865; Death toll at 169
The number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in India stood at 5,865 as on April 9, 2020, at 5 PM, according to the MoHFW. This included 5,218 active cases, 169 fatalities and 477 cases that were cured or discharged.
IMF anticipates worst economic fallout since Great Depression
The Covid-19 pandemic will have a devastating impact on the global economy in 2020, IMF chief Kristalina Georgieva said on Thursday. "It is already clear, however, that global growth will turn sharply negative in 2020, as you will see in our World Economic Outlook next week. In fact, we anticipate the worst economic fallout since the Great Depression,” she said.
Over 170 countries are expected to see negative per capita income growth this year. Three months ago: 160 expected to see positive per capita income growth.— IMF (@IMFNews) April 9, 2020
Read the latest on our look ahead in @KGeorgieva’s speech before the #IMFMeetings. https://t.co/4WmYD9DZsO #coronavirus pic.twitter.com/PYdVEix8em
Full opening of B2C services via e-commerce first step to normalcy: IAMAI
IAMAI (Internet and Mobile Association of India) has said that full opening of B2C services, in both products and services categories via e-commerce platforms is the first and most important step to return to normal economic activity.
Markets close the week with strong gains
The BSE Sensex closed trading on Thursday at 31,160, gaining more than 1,200 points, even as the Covid-19 crisis continued to escalate in India. The NSE Nifty closed above 9,000. All sectoral indices posted gains with auto and metals gaining the most.
Delhi HC suspends summer vacation
Delhi HC has cancelled its summer break. Subordinate Courts are also set to work in the national capital in the month of June 2020.
Odisha extends lockdown to April 30
Odisha became the first state to extend the 21-day nationwide lockdown from April 14 to April 30. Educational institutions will remain shut till June 17, several media reports said citing chief minister Naveen Patnaik.
CoRover launches video bot to get queries around Covid-19 answered
Bengaluru-based AI startup CoRover, which is backed by Microsoft, has launched a video bot called AskDoc to address queries around Covid-19. The platform will help people with credible information and facts to help diminish citizens’ anxieties around the disease while staying at home. Powered by Microsoft Azure, the AskDoc platform will use artificial intelligence, machine learning, and natural language processing to create a virtual conversational platform where anyone can interact with the doctors.
Pending IT refunds, GST and Custom refunds to be released as relief measure
The Department of Revenue has announced that all pending income tax refunds of upto Rs 5 lakh will be released immediately to provide relief to 14 lakh individual taxpayers in view of the Covid-19 lockdown. For Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), a total refund of Rs 18,000 crore will be released as pending GST and Custom refunds. This will benefit 1 lakh businesses.
In context of COVID-19 situation & to grant immediate relief to taxpayers, GOI has decided to issue all pending income-tax refunds upto Rs.5 lakh & GST/Custom refunds with immediate effect.@nsitharaman @nsitharamanoffc @Anurag_Office @FinMinIndia @PIB_India @cbic_india #StaySafe pic.twitter.com/sF0cU8WyA1— Income Tax India (@IncomeTaxIndia) April 8, 2020
Markets open positive; Sensex gains 600 points
The Indian stock markets opened strong on Thursday with the BSE Sensex gaining 600 points at opening trade. The Nifty opened above 8,900. The rally was backed by pharma stocks. Cipla hit a 52-week high.
Death toll in Maharashtra rises to 72; confirmed cases at 1,324
A total of 72 people have died in Maharashtra after succumbing to the Covid-19 disease. The state reported the total number of confirmed cases at 1,324 as on April 9, 2020, at 8 AM, according to the MoHFW. The number of active cases in the state stood at 1,135 while 117 have been cured or discharged. Tamil Nadu reported 1,194 confirmed cases, including 8 fatalities. Delhi reported 699 confirmed cases, including 9 fatalities.
Confirmed Covid-19 cases in India spike to 5,734
The number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in India stood at 5,734 as on April 9, 2020, at 8.00 AM, according to the MoHFW. This included 5,095 active cases and 166 fatalities. A total of 472 cases have been cured or discharged.
Byju's launches free live classes on its platform
Edtech company Byju's has free Live Classes on its platform. Students will now be able to learn real-time by reserving their preferred topic and slot from the schedule on the company's app. In early March, the company announced free access to it’s learning app, to support and help students and parents cope with the sudden closure of schools due to COVID-19. Since then it has seen a 150% increase in the number of new students learning on its app, it said in a statement.
Zypp fleet to deliver groceries for Spencer's Retail in NCR
Electric scooter rental app Zypp has partnered with Spencer’s Retail to deploy its fleet of electric scooters for last-mile delivery for Spencer’s Retail in Gurugram and NCR. The company will expand the initiative nationally, it said in a statement.
Confirmed cases in India soars to 5,274
The number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in India stood at 5,274 as on April 8 at 5 PM, according to the MoHFW. This includes 4,714 active cases and 410 people who have been cured or discharged. 149 people have succumbed to the disease so far.
SC orders for Covid-19 testing at govt and pvt labs to be made free
The Supreme Court has issued an interim order on Wednesday evening to make Covid-19 related tests in approved government or private labs free of cost for people. The issue of whether the labs will be reimbursed by the government will be decided later, the apex court added.
Railways ramps up its healthcare system
Indian Railways has deployed more than 2,500 doctors and 35,000 paramedic staff to meet the healthcare challenges associated with the Covid-19. More doctors and paramedics being recruited on a temporary basis by various zones. Around 5,000 beds in 17 dedicated hospitals and 33 hospital blocks in railway hospitals have been identified. 5,000 train coaches across Indian Railways are to be converted as quarantine or isolation facilities; 3250 coaches already completed. Coach factories, railway workshops, coaching depots and hospitals have all risen to the occasion locally producing PPEs type overalls, sanitizers and masks to supplement the national efforts.
#CoronaVirusUpdates: #IndianRailways to deploy more than 2500 Doctors and 35000 paramedic staff to meet the #COVID19 challenge: https://t.co/fjaNqgKgpy#IndiaFightsCorona #StayHome #StayAwareStaySafe pic.twitter.com/sbOjEFGeYc— #IndiaFightsCorona (@COVIDNewsByMIB) April 8, 2020
Masks made compulsory in public and work places of Mumbai
Wearing of masks has been made mandatory during travelling, in public and work spaces in Mumbai, according to the latest directive of the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai or Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC). Failure of following the guideline will result in action under section 188 of the Indian Penal Code. The masks, the local authority said could be standard masks available at the chemist or homemade washable ones.
#OfficialUpdateMumbai— ???? Mumbai, ???? BMC (@mybmc) April 8, 2020
1??Wearing of mask in public & work places now compulsory
2??Masks are also to be worn while traveling
3??These may be standard masks available at the chemist or homemade washable ones
4??Action will be taken against offenders u/s 188 of IPC#NaToCorona https://t.co/sdRhniJgPU pic.twitter.com/m5p5Jab0oQ
Lockdown may be extended
The 21-day nationwide curfew called in the wake of the Covid-19 spread, may be extended, multiple media reported, citing parliamentarians who shared a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi earlier on Wednesday. A final decision is expected after another meeting on April 11.
New companies backed by ACT Grant Fund
The Rs 100 crore ACT Grant created by investors, entrepreneurs and corporate entities from Indian startup ecosystem have backed six new companies including MyLab, Ethereal Machines, Karkhana.io, Corona Safe, Fashinza and Covid-19 Helpline with capital for accelerated development of ideas to fight Covid-19 pandemic.
Over 1.21 lakh Covid-19 tests done so far : ICMR
In its daily press briefing, ICMR head of epidemiology and communicable diseases Dr R Gangakhedkar said that 1.21 lakh tests were conducted so far to detect Covid-19. Of these 13,345 tests were carried out on April 7. The ICMR has empanelled 139 labs and 65 private labs to conduct these tests. The total number of positive cases of Covid-19 detected in India so far stands at 5194.
Indian equity benchmarks closed at red
When stock markets on Wednesday closed, S&P BSE Sensex was low by 0.58% at 29,893.96 levels, while Nifty 50 Index last traded at 8,748.75 levels, down by 0.49%. These come in stark difference market sentiments in the morning when the benchmark indices jumped over 3%.
Ola rolls out emergency medical service in Karnataka
Ride hailing app Ola has partnered with the Karnataka government to launch emergency medical service trips which do not require an ambulance. Users can select the Ola emergency service and select from a list of hospitals on the app as drop location, during the lockdown period related to Covid-19.
Foodtech startup Hoi Foods launches “Donate a Meal” drive
Cloud kitchen aggregator platform Hoi Foods, with its business under a lockdown, has launched a “Donate A Meal” initiative to donate meals to daily wage workers who have had financial setbacks owing to the Covid-19 lockdown. The Gurugram based company had been serving 500 meals a day, founder Pawan Raj Kumar told TechCircle on Wednesday. With the new donation campaign in place it achieved to serve 2000 meals a day. Kumar said he expects to donate 50,000 meals by April end.
SC asks for adequate kits to protect doctors
Hearing a petitions seeking adequate protective equipment including Personal Protective Equipment, masks and other material for doctors, paramedical staff and frontline workers fighting Covid-19, a two judge bench of the SC called doctors ‘warriors’ and asked for protection of these workers. Senior advocate jaideep Gupta submitted that the national plan for fighting Covid-19 needs to be updated, during the hearing.
China lifts 76-day lockdown on Wuhan
China has lifted the curfew in Wuhan, the known place of origin of the Covid-19, prompting life back to normalcy in the city. Wuhan was in lockdown mode since January 23 to contain the outbreak. The virus has spread around the world infecting more than 1.4 million people, killing 82,000 of them and wreaking havoc on the global economy as governments imposed lockdowns to rein in its spread, Reuters reported on Wednesday.
NoBrokerHood arranges for bulk grocery procurement for its network of residents
App-based security management solution for gated premises NoBrokerHood, an offshoot business of online property listing startup NoBroker, has launched grocery delivery on its app to meet the essentials’ needs of its society residents at doorstep. Residents can place the order on the NoBrokerHood app after which volunteers within societies order the requirements in bulk e-grocers BigBasket B2B and ITC. The service has so far been launched in Bangalore, Pune, Chennai and Hyderabad and will soon be available in Delhi-NCR and Mumbai as well.
ShareChat CEO says hiring at co continues
Vernacular social media platform ShareChat will continue hiring, to match growing requirements across all its verticals, Ankush Sachdeva said in a LinkedIn post on Wednesday. The Mohalla Tech-operated entity has “ditched” the traditional hiring techniques at a time when its employees are working remotely in view of the Covid-19 lockdown, Sachdeva added.
Crowdfunding platform Milaap to help Ola disburse financial aid to driver partners
Ola Foundation, the social welfare arm of ride-hailing platform Ola, has partnered with crowdfunding platform Milaap, to help disburse funds from its Drive the Driver Fund. Milaap will identify and evaluate requests from drivers and their families in need of support to allocate aid to those drivers, Ola said in a statement on Wednesday.
Indian researchers start work on Covid-19 genome sequencing
The institutes of Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) -- Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) at Hyderabad and Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (IGIB) at New Delhi have started working together on the whole genome sequencing of novel coronavirus, to figure out different aspects of the new virus, the evolution of the virus, how dynamic is it and how fast it imitates.
Working with industry to scale up PPE: CSIR-CECRI
Council of Scientific & Industrial Research’s (CSIR) constituent lab CSIR-CECRI(Central Electrochemical Research Institute) at Karaikudi, Tamil Nadu has been ramping up its distribution of hand sanitizers to nearby local institutions of healthcare and governance. Additionally, it has started digital training to make face masks for interested rural women, according to a blog post announcement.
#CoronaVirusUpdates:@CSIR_CECRI working with Industry to Scale up Personal Protective Equipment.— #IndiaFightsCorona (@COVIDNewsByMIB) April 8, 2020
Digital training to make face masks by interested rural women: https://t.co/nElOZ8oC3V@MoHFW_INDIA #StayHome #BreakTheChain
Govt unveils life insurance for healthcare workers
The central government has created an insurance cover scheme, under its Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan package, for health workers in the frontline response of Covid-19. The insurance covers loss of life due to Covid-19 and accidental death on account of Covid-19 related duty.
Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package: Insurance Scheme for Health Workers Fighting #COVID19 covers— PIB India ???????? #StayHome #StaySafe (@PIB_India) April 7, 2020
• Loss of life due to #COVID19
• Accidental death on account of #COVID19 related duty.
????#FAQ's on Insurance Scheme for #healthworkers pic.twitter.com/I3tsHYjzYy
Govt-funded rapid diagnostic kit being developed by Pune based startup
Pune-based diagnostics startup FastSense Diagnostics is in the process of developing a test kit for rapid diagnosis of the Covid-19. Funded by the Department of Science and Technology, a subset of the Ministry of Science and Technology, the startup plans to roll out two products. Details, here.
MHA writes to states to ensure availability of essentials
The Ministry of Home Affairs has invoked the Essential Commodities Act 1955 in its letter to states, to ensure availability of essential goods and urged to take steps to prevent hoarding or black marketing of essential items, which can then be procured by consumers at fair prices.
#IndiaFightsCOVID19— Spokesperson, Ministry of Home Affairs (@PIBHomeAffairs) April 8, 2020
MHA writes to States to ensure availabilty of essential goods, by invoking Essential Commodities Act 1955.
Take urgent steps to prevent hoarding/black marketing and ensure essential commodities are available at fair prices for public at large: MHA#Lockdown21 pic.twitter.com/9K2l4EDjUo
Intel pledges $50 million for Covid-19 response
Semiconductor giant Intel has committed $50 million to aid the fight against the rapidly spreading Covid-19. The fund is in addition to the previous announcement of $10 million in donations that the company pledged to support local communities. Details, here.
Delhi police to use drones for lockdown surveillance
In a Tweet, the Delhi Police has said that drones will be used for surveillance around the city to ensure lockdown is followed by the residents. “Those found loitering in groups on the streets will be monitored using drone cameras. Action will be taken against those found violating social distancing norms,” said the message posted on Tuesday.
#DelhiPoliceFightsCOVID— DCP South East Delhi (@DCPSEastDelhi) April 7, 2020
?????? ??? ???? ??? ?? ????? ????? ?? ?? ????? ?????? ?? ??? ?? ??? ?? ????#Social_Distancing ?? ????? ??????? ???? ????? ????? ?? ???? ????????? #StayAwareStaySafe #DelhiPolice #DelhiPoliceCares@DelhiPolice @CPDelhi @LtGovDelhi pic.twitter.com/3ihw8uIVku
Maharashtra is worst hit Indian state, infections rise by the day
The number of Covid-19 patients in Maharashtra, the state that houses the financial capital of the country, stood at 1,018 on Tuesday night, according to state health minister Rajesh Tope. Maharashtra is the only state with a four digit tally in comparison to other Indian states, as per MoHFW data.
The current count of COVID19 patients in the state of Maharashtra is 1018. Newly, Mumbai 116, Pune 18, Ahmednagar 03, Buldhana 02, Thane 02, Nagpur 03, Satara 01, Aurangabad 03, Ratnagiri 01, Sangli 01 , such 150 patients have been identified as positive. Discharges 79— Rajesh Tope (@rajeshtope11) April 7, 2020
Confirmed cases in India crosses 5,000; fatalities touch 149
The number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in India stood at 5,194 as on April 8 at 8 AM, according to the MoHFW. This includes 4,643 active cases and 401 people who have been cured or discharged. 149 people have succumbed to the disease so far.
Tesla cuts pay, furloughs workers at US factories
Tesla has suspended production at its United States factories until at least May 4, prompting the electric vehicle maker to cut pay for salaried employees between 10% and 30% and furlough workers, TechCrunch reported citing an internal email sent to employees at the company. Furloughed employees will remain employees of Tesla without pay. The memo directs furloughed employees to apply for unemployment benefits, the report added.
Indian equity benchmarks off to a green start
S&P BSE Sensex gained over 500 points to 30,585.72 levels, up 1.72%, while Nifty 50 traded at gains of 152.95 points to 8,945.15 levels, up 1.74%. Stocks of GAIL, Mahindra & Mahindra and IndusInd Bank were top gainers, stock values of each hovering around levels up about 10%.
PM Modi to discuss Covid-19 shutdown with Parliament leaders
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will interact with floor leaders of all parties via video conference at 11 AM on Wednesday to discuss the future course of Covid-19 outbreak and lockdown and associated economic impact in India. The current shutdown is slated to end on April 14. The government expects some opposition to the ordinance to suspend MPLADS for two years, according to multiple media reports.
Zoho pledges $3.3 mn to PM CARES
Homegrown software service provider Zoho Corp has made a donation of Rs 25 crore (about $3.3 million) to the Prime Minister's Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations (PM CARES) Fund, CEO Sridhar Vembu tweeted on Wednesday.
Yesterday Zoho Corp made a donation of Rs 25 crores to the PM Cares Relief Fund.— Sridhar Vembu (@svembu) April 8, 2020
This donation was possible because of the capital built by our employees and the patronage of our customers. ????????????
COAI proposes online self-KYC process to avail new SIM cards
Telecom lobby group Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) has proposed a digital process to facilitate new mobile connections through a self-know-your-customer (KYC) process, in a letter to the department of telecom (DoT) viewed by TechCircle. Details, here.
Twitter boss pledges $1 bn to Covid-19 relief efforts
Microblogging platform Twitter co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsery has moved $1 billion from his equity in his fintech company Square, to fund global Covid-19 through his Start Small Foundation. Once the Covid-19 pandemic has been "disarmed", the funds will go toward girls' health and education and research into universal basic income, and operate transparently with all flows tracked here, Dorsey said in a tweet on Tuesday. Dorsey said he was using shares of Square and not Twitter because he owned "a lot more" of them.
Confirmed Covid-19 cases in Maharashtra near 1,000 mark
Confirmed Covid-19 cases in Maharashtra continue to increase. Today saw the total number of cases in the state shoot up to 972, which includes 48 fatalities. The data is as on April 7, 2020, at 6 PM according to the MoHFW.
Confirmed Covid-19 cases in India at 4,789
The total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in India stood at 4,789 as on April 7, 2020, at 6 PM, according to the MoHFW. The number of active cases stood at 4,312, up by 331 cases since this morning. The number of fatalities at 6 PM stood at 124 while 352 people have been cured or discharged.
SIDBI launches schemes to help startups
Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) has launched an initiative to help startups navigate the mounting operational and financial pressures arising from the coronavirus pandemic. The Covid-19 startup assistance scheme (CSAS) will provide quick working capital loans up to Rs 2 crore to startups whose cash flow and liquidity have been adversely impacted by the pandemic. The loan can also be considered against the startups’ GST refunds.
LetsTransport partners with Petoo to supply meals to drivers in Bengaluru
Tech logistics solution provider LetsTransport has started an initiative along with Petoo- an Indian cuisine QSR platform — to provide drivers with daily meals. The company is delivering around 100+ meals twice a day in Bengaluru and plans to expand this service to other cities, the company said in a statement.
Kolkata police, govt agencies join forces to keep stray animals fed
Kolkata Police, the Municipal Corporation, forest department and other state bodies have come together to feed the stray dogs and cats of the city. They are making sure that proper guidelines such as wearing gloves, ensuring the food is not too spicy and disposing plates in the trash after use are followed.
India partially lifts ban on Hydroxychloroquine after Trump warns retaliation
India has partially lifted the ban on the export of Hydroxychloroquine — the anti-malaria drug that US President Donald Trump had requested, media reports said. Trump has been calling the drug a “game-changer” in the fight against COVID-19 and he hinted retaliation if India did not lift its ban on the export of the drug.
Scooter rental platform Vogo partners with essential service providers
Bengaluru-based Vogo Automotive has partnered with a number of essential service providers across segments like grocery, food and hospitals. During the lockdown, Vogo is providing sanitized scooters to customers via a long term use model. This is a product where vehicles remain with a single customer for the duration of the usage period.
Myntra partners with Wildcraft to offer personal protective face masks
Flipkart-owned fashion ecommerce platform Myntra has partnered with Wildcraft to offer high quality personal protective masks on its platform. The ensuing shortage of protective masks across the country and restricted access during the lockdown, has prompted Myntra, the company said in a statement.
Sensex reclaims 30,000-mark; Nifty ends around 8,800
The Indian indices gained around 9% at the close of trading on Tuesday. All major sectors closed in the positive with the banking and pharma indices supporting the rally, gaining 10% each. Nifty IT was up 7.46%.
Govt committed to ensure business continuity of IT-ITeS industry: Dept of Commerce
The Department of Commerce said in a tweet that it recognises the value of the IT-ITeS industry and is working on policies, processes & operational issues to keep the corporations running & emerge stronger from the global crisis.
Govt led by PM @NarendraModi is fully committed to ensure business continuity of India’s IT-ITeS industry.— Dept of Commerce, GoI (@DoC_GoI) April 6, 2020
Recognising the value of the industry, we are working on policies, processes & operational issues to keep the corporations running & emerge stronger from global crisis. pic.twitter.com/sBlerA4lEO
Delhi CM Kejriwal charts out action plan to fight Covid-19
Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal has announced in a video press conference that his govt will use a 5-point action plan which includes five Ts to combat Covid-19 pandemic. The five Ts are -- testing, tracing, treatment, team-work and tracking & monitoring. “We will aggressively test to identify, treat, trace, quarantine and seal, along the lines of South Korea,” he said.
Taiwan stays Zoom’s official use over cybersecurity concerns
Taiwan has banned all official use of video conferencing app Zoom, the first to do so amongst nations, citing security concerns. Governments, companies and individuals around the world, have been using the app to conduct meetings remotely in the wake of Covid-19 pandemic.
WhatsApp to limit sharing forwarded messages to only one chat at a time
Facebook-owned WhatsApp has rolled out a new feature to help curb the spread of misinformation. It will now limit the frequently forwarded messages to only one chat at a time. This limit kicks in once a message has been previously forwarded 5 times or more.
ShopClues announces 48-hour delivery of essentials in Delhi & Gurugram
E-commerce marketplace ShopClues has announced a two-day delivery of orders of essential items for its customers in Delhi and Gurugram. The service has gone live starting April 7, 2020. The firm has also recently introduced contactless delivery encouraging customers to pay online for their purchases.
Driver Seva mobile app is helping stranded drivers on highways due
B2B SaaS company Locus, that automates human decisions in supply chain, has initiated the ‘Driver Seva mobile app’ project along with Highway Delite, a travel app startup, to help truck drivers who are stuck on highways due to the lockdown. This app aims to help drivers in the current lockdown with information regarding food, water, and safe parking near their location, across the country.
Acko offers 1 month free policy extension on auto insurance
To support customers during lockdown, Acko General Insurance has announced a 1-month insurance extension to car and bike owners. Customers who renew or are first time buyers of Acko’s auto insurance policy, will need to pay for 12 months and will get a 1-month extension.
India unemployment rate up 23% amid Covid-19 and nationwide lockdown
The unemployment rate has spiked by 23% and stood at 8.7% for the month of March, the CMIE report said. This is the highest unemployment rate in 43 months. The rate has climbed rather steeply from the 7.16% level of January 2020,” wrote Mahesh Vyas, chief executive officer of CMIE on its website. The report comes as India entered the fourteenth day of a 21-day nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of Covid-19.
Won’t cut salaries, job offers will stand: Flipkart CEO
Kalyan Krishnamurthy, CEO of Walmart owned Flipkart said the e-commerce company will not affect salary cuts and will honour all job offers despite the Covid-19 crisis. Krishnamurthy was speaking to employees at a virtual townhall, according to media reports.
Delhi to ramp up battle against Covid-19, conduct random testing
The Delhi govt is set to conduct over 1 lakh tests in the next few days. It will randomly test in areas identified as Coronavirus hotspots. Quarantine centers are also being set up in large numbers around the state. Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal is expected to brief about a 5-point plan formed in view of Covid-19 pandemic at 1 PM today.
Confirmed cases in Maharashtra at 849; death toll at 45
Confirmed cases in Maharashtra shot up to 849 and the number of deaths in the state stood at 45, as on April 7, 2020, at 9 AM according to the MoHFW. Tamil Nadu reported 634 confirmed cases while the death toll stood at 5. Confirmed cases in Delhi stood at 549 and the number of fatalities stood at 7. Kerala had 387 confirmed cases and 2 fatalities. Telengana had 362 confirmed cases and 7 dead.
Confirmed cases in India at 4,421; fatalities touch 114
The number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in India stood at 4,421 as on April 7, 2020, at 9 AM, according to the MoHFW. This includes 3,981 active cases and 325 people who have been cured or discharged. 114 have succumbed to the disease so far.
Data dashboards of smart cities help monitor COVID-19
Indian smart cities Pune, Surat, Bengaluru and Tumakuru are using the integrated data dashboards, developed by the data analysts and data experts working with their ICCCs (Integrated Command and Control Centre) to provide up-to-date information about the status of Covid-19 in different administrative zones of their cities.
Smart city missions Integrated data? dashboards being used at Command & Control Centers to monitor #COVID19.— #IndiaFightsCorona (@COVIDNewsByMIB) April 6, 2020
Pune, Surat, Bengaluru & Tumakuru are using dashboards to provide up-to-date information about the virus in different zones of their cities: https://t.co/idMHszHdNr pic.twitter.com/GS007aGJ84
Railways asks cement cos to offload goods from freight trains: PTI
Indian Railways has asked cement companies to offload their goods from freight trains so that the trains can be used to supply essential commodities to different parts of the country, according to PTI.
CreditMate enforces salary cuts to tide over Covid-19
Debt collection platform CreditMate has announced graded salary cuts for its employees to tide over the slowdown in markets due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The Mumbai-based company has asked employees who are not willing to take a pay cut to quit. This follows similar news from other companies including bike rental platform Bounce, online travel platform MakeMyTrip and others.
Rapido partners with BigBasket, BigBazaar for grocery deliveries
Bike taxi company rapido has announced a partnership with on-demand grocery delivery company BigBasket to supply essentials during the 21 day lockdown on account of Covid-19. The grocery delivery portals have seen a jump in demand during the lockdown period and have been on an aggressive recruitment drive. Meanwhile the lockdown has seen temporary suspension of shared mobility companies, leading them to seek partnerships for carrying out essential deliveries.
SEBI extends compliance date for investors, startups ask for tax refunds
Regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India has extended the deadline for regulatory filings for Alternative Investment Funds and Venture Capital Funds from March 31, 2020 and April 30, 2020 by two months. Apart from this, a letter written to the MoF by startups, investors and industry bodies has asked for relief on speedy settlement of IT and GST refunds and relaxation of norms for lending startups.
Covid-19 death toll rises to 111; total confirmed cases reaches 4,281
The number of people tested positive for Covid-19 infection has reached 4,281 including 111 fatalities according to data shared by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare as of 6 PM Monday. The figure also includes 318 patients who have been cured and discharged.
Govt plans for second financial stimulus: PTI, citing sources
The union finance ministry is working on a second relief package for the Indian economy, which is hit hard by the Covid-19 outbreak and the 21-day nationwide lockdown imposed to curb the contagion, according to PTI on multiple media reports on Monday. Last month, the government announced a Rs 1.70 trillion relief package in the form of foodgrains and cash transfers for the poor and vulnerable section.
Kerala develops walk-in test kiosks to minimise use of single-use items
Following South Korea’s steps in combating the global pandemic and to reduce the usage of single-use masks and gloves, Kerala’s Ernakulam district has built six walk-in kiosks for mass collection of samples for coronavirus testing -- located across four hospitals in the district that have isolation wards and testing facilities. A WISK (Walk-in Sample Kiosk) is a glass-sealed cubicle with extended gloves attached in the front. A medical practitioner standing inside the cubicle can collect samples through the gloves that must be sanitised after every use.
Govt invites ideas for developing antiviral nano-coating on PPEs
The Department of Science and Technology (DST) of the central government in India, through its Science and Engineering Board (SERB) portal, has invited short-term proposals for developing antiviral nano-coating and new nano based material for use in Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) -- proposals that can be transferred to a partnering industry or start-up for scale up. The invitation calls for development of antiviral nano-coatings for producing anti-Covid-19 triple layer medical masks and N-95 respirator or better masks in large quantities and PPEs for safeguarding health care workers against the deadly virus.The last date for submission of proposals is April 30.
West Bengal ropes in Nobel laureate Banerjee to form Global Advisory Committee
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday has roped in Nobel laureate Abhijit Banerjee as a part of a Global Advisory Committee for Covid-19 response policy in the state. The state’s head said that there was a need to plan for the future as it was difficult for the state to carry on with a complete shutdown that has affected the state’s revenues. There was no revenue due to complete lockdown and no one knows how long the state will have to stay like this, Banerjee added.
Kolkata sweet shop unveils Covid-19 inspired sweet
A sweet shop in Kolkata, Hindustan Sweets, has created a Shondesh (dessert made from milk, originating from the Bengal region in India) that is in the shape of the Coronavirus, to spread awareness about the deadly disease. The sweet is not for sale, and is instead being distributed for free, according to media reports.
Crazy people— Bhattacharya P ? (@preetibhatta1) April 6, 2020
Some name their new born babies as corona and covid.... some make corona sweets ???????? pic.twitter.com/HWz4WX16Lh
After Bigbasket, Flipkart enlists Uber’s services for essentials deliveries in 3 cities
Ride-hailing platform Uber on Monday announced a partnership with Walmart-owned e-commerce platform Flipkart to help with delivery of essentials to consumers in cities of Bangalore, Mumbai and Delhi, in wake of the national lockdown. Last week, Uber announced its entry into last mile delivery services through a partnership with BigBasket. Uber said it will not charge any commission to the drivers billed amounts on both the arrangements.
Limited evidence for efficacy of Hydroxychloroquine: MoHFW
There is limited evidence for the efficacy of Hydroxychloroquine and it will only be given as prophylactic to health workers on the frontlines of fighting Covid-19, joint secretary of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare Lav Agarwal said on Monday. Agarwal clarified that there was no sufficient evidence for use of the medicine at a community level. Separately, the Indian government on Saturday enforced a complete ban on the export of the drug.
Modi pitches for truck aggregating platforms to connect farms to markets
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday has urged to explore the usage of innovative solutions like 'truck aggregators' on lines of app-based cabs to connect farmers with mandis (marketplaces) during an interaction with central ministers via video conference, according to multiple media reports.
ICMR has ordered only 5 lakh Covid-19 test kits, clarifies institute
In a press briefing by government departments, Dr R Gangakhedkar, chief epidemiologist of ICMR said that only 5 lakh rapid antibody testing kits for Covid-19 were ordered by the institute which will be received by April 8. News agency ANI had reported that 7 lakh kits were ordered earlier today.These will be deployed in hotspot areas.
Govt take pay cuts to chop costs in view of Covid-19 crisis
The Union Cabinet Ministry on Monday approved an ordinance, which amended the Salary, Allowances and Pension of Members of Parliament Act, 1954 reducing salaries by 30%, effective from April 1, for a year. It also approved temporary suspension of the Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS) during 2020-21 and 2021-22 for managing health and adverse impact of outbreak of Covid-19. The President, Vice President, the Governors of India have also voluntarily decided to take a pay cut.
Byju’s sees 6 mn new students access free lessons on platform
Byju’s has seen 6 million new students accessing its free lessons, resulting in a 150% increase in traction of new students on the online education platform, it said in a statement on Monday. Separately, Byju’s name has figured in a list of ‘Distance Learning Solutions’ released by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) for students to continue learning during these uncertain times, the only Indian edutech company with the said recognition, the statement added.
Wildlife reserves in India on alert for Covid-19 management
The Indian government has issued an advisory regarding containment and management of Covid-19 in national parks, sanctuaries and tiger reserves across the country, on Monday. In the first known case in the world, a tiger at the Bronx Zoo in New York was tested positive for Covid-19 on Sunday.
Government issues Advisory regarding containing and management of #COVID19 in National Parks/Sanctuaries/Tiger Reserves across the country.#IndiaFightsCorona#CoronavirusOutbreakindia pic.twitter.com/vV4lwv9uEq— PIB India ???????? #StayHome #StaySafe (@PIB_India) April 6, 2020
Entities use TikTok to disperse information on Covid1-9
Short-form video platform TikTok has been providing access to information in partnership with health organizations and governmental authorities for its users. The World Health Organization (WHO) has uploaded videos of doctors who clarify facts on Covid-19, alongside regular livestreams, the platform run by Beijing, China based ByteDance said in a statement on Monday. Local police authorities, actors and content creators are also playing an important role in sharing tips on staying safe, the statement added.
Google Maps helps find nearby food and night shelters in India
Search engine giant Google is working closely with state and central government authorities to pin the locations of Covid-19 relief centers on Google Maps. Users can find the location of food and night shelters across 30 cities across India currently. People can search for ‘Food shelters in ’ or ‘Night shelters in ’ to find the results.
Safdarjung Hospital Doctors ask for donation of protective gear for battling Covid-19
Resident doctors’ association at Safdarjung Hospital in Nw Delhi have sought donation of protective equipment and consumables such as hand sanitizers, 50,000 PPE kits and N-95 masks and 3 lakh triple layer masks from the general public. According to a letter published yb them on April 3, the association has stated that there is dire need of protective gear for doctors, nursing staff and other healthcare workers in the hospital which is the nodal centre for treatment, isolation and quarantine for Covid-19 patients in Delhi.
Healthians resumes services
Doorstep health test provider Healthians has resumed its services and announced free sample collection from home for health care testing across India. There won’t be any fee for a home visit or sample collection from home, while people can book the test online through the company’s website or app, the company said in a statement on Monday. Healthians operates in over 35 Indian cities in India.
Wockhardt Hospital in Mumbai declared a containment zone
The Wockhardt Hospital in Mumbai, Maharashtra has been declared a containment zone by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) as 30 doctors and nurses are suspected to have been infected with the Covid-19, according to multiple media reports.
Fintech startup CreditMate cuts salaries across board
India Quotient backed debt collection platform CreditMate has cut pay across different verticals and positions in an attempt to deflect the economic blow caused by the Covid 19. The Mumbai-based startup’s co-founder and CEO Jonathan Bill tweeted that the company has reduced salaries across the board to save costs.
We cut it like this:— Jonathan Bill (@jonsonbill) April 3, 2020
Folk earning 25k or less 0 change
25kto 40 10 percent
40k plus 20
8 people 100k plus 25 to 100 percent
India places complete ban on export of Hydroxychloroquine
The Indian government has banned all exports of the Hydroxychloroquine, a drug that is used to treat Malaria, Arthritis and Lupus in an amendment of the export policy that regulates the drug, according to a notification from the Directorate General of Foreign Trade on Saturday. In the last week of March, the trade regulator had only restricted the exports. The exemption regarding export on humanitarian grounds and for meeting commitments made earlier to the restriction, now stand deleted. The drug has repeatedly been touted as a treatment option to cure Covid-19 by United States President Donald Trump. Medical experts have suggested that there exists no concrete evidence of the drug’s effectiveness on Covid-19 as of yet.
ICMR to get 7 lakh rapid testing kits for Covid-19
Apex body for biomedical research in India ICMR has ordered for 7 lakh rapid antibody testing kits, with the first delivery of 5 lakh kits to be received by April 8. The kits will be used to conduct tests in Covid-19 infection hotspots which have seen a large number of cases.
ICMR to get about 7 lakh rapid antibody testing kits by April 8. These will help in conducting #COVID19 tests in hotspot areas where large no.of cases are being seen. ICMR will get delivery in a phased manner. It's expected that they'll get 5 lakh kits in 1st phase. Orders placed pic.twitter.com/ENv4xPqrHF— ANI (@ANI) April 6, 2020
Apple is designing face shields for medical workers
iPhone maker Apple Inc’s design, engineering, operations and packaging teams are working with suppliers to design, produce and ship face shields for medical workers, in a show of its support to the worldwide response to Covid-19. A million of these Additionally, it has sourced over 20 million masks through its supply chain, CEO Tim Cook said on Twitter.
Apple is dedicated to supporting the worldwide response to COVID-19. We’ve now sourced over 20M masks through our supply chain. Our design, engineering, operations and packaging teams are also working with suppliers to design, produce and ship face shields for medical workers. pic.twitter.com/3xRqNgMThX— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) April 5, 2020
Top 5 states of Covid-19 infections in India
Indian states of Maharashtra (690 cases), Tamil Nadu (571), Delhi (503), Telangana (321), and Kerala (314) have the highest number of Covid-19 cases in the country, according to data shared by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare as of 9 AM Monday. The death toll in the state of the financial capital of India, Mumbai, has reached 45. The only other state with a double-digit fatality toll (11 deaths) is Gujarat with 122 infections.
Covid-19 death toll rises to 109; total confirmed cases cross 4,000
The number of people tested positive for Covid-19 infection has reached 4,067 including 109 fatalities according to data shared by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare as of 9 AM Monday. The figure also includes 291 patients who have been cured and discharged.
Covid-19 death toll rises to 83; total confirmed cases cross 3,500
The number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in India stood at 3,577 as on Sunday, April 5, 2020, at 6.00 PM, according to the MoFW. The total number of active cases stood at 3219 and the death toll rose to 83. 274 people have been cured or discharged.
Amitabh Kant writes to NGOs for help with Covid-related relief measures
Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant has written to over 92000 NGOs/ CSOs registered on the Darpan portal of NITI Aayog with an appeal to assist the government in identifying hotspots and deputing volunteers and care givers to deliver services to the elderly, persons with disabilities, children, transgender persons, and other vulnerable groups; create awareness about prevention, social distancing, isolation, and combating stigma; provide shelter to homeless, daily wage workers, and urban poor families; set up community kitchens for migrants, said a statement this morning.
Amazon Pantry resumes delivery to select pincodes in B'luru, Hyd and Pune
Amazon Pantry, the grocery service from Amazon, has started accepting fresh orders for essentials in select pincodes of Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Pune effective this evening at 5.00 PM. The ecommerce company is prioritising deliveries of existing orders and new orders would take 7-10 days to be delivered, it said in an update on its website.
Confirmed Covid-19 cases in India cross 3,000
The number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in India stood at 3,374 on Sunday, April 5, 2020, at 9.00 AM, according to data published by the MoHFW. The number of fatalities stood at 77.
Amazon may push Prime Day sale to August: Reuters
Amazon plans to postpone its mega Prime Day summer shopping sale to August, Reuters reported on on Friday, citing internal meeting notes. The Prime Day sale typically occurs in July.
Lockdown may continue beyond April 14, says Maha health minister Rajesh Tope
Maharashtra health minister Rajesh Tope said on Saturday that the ongoing lockdown in the state may be relaxed in phases after April 14 and the government may even consider not lifting the lockdown at all if the number of Covid-19 cases continued to escalate, according to a PTI report. Maharashtra had 556 confirmed cases as on Sunday, April 5, 2020, at 9.00 AM, according to data published by the MoHFW. The number of fatalities in the state stood at 24.
Confirmed cases in Maharashtra close to 500; Death toll at 19
The death toll in Maharashta on account of Covid-19 stood at 19, the highest in the country, at 9.00 AM this morning, according to data published by the MoHFW. The total number of confirmed cases stood at 484. The second most affected state is Tamil Nadu with 418 confirmed cases, followed by Delhi at 400 cases. Kerala's count of confirmed cases stood at 338 this morning. Uttar Pradesh had 195 confirmed cases.
Confirmed Covid-19 cases in India at nearly 3,000
The number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in India stood at 2,902 at 9.00 AM this morning, according to the latest data published by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare. The number of fatalities stood at 68 while 183 have been cured or discharged.
Bharat Biotech teams up with global virologists, vaccine cos for Covid-19 vaccine
A group of virologists at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and vaccine companies FluGen and Bharat Biotech has begun the development and testing of a unique vaccine against Covid-19 called CoroFlu. The refinement of the CoroFlu vaccine concept and testing in laboratory animal models at UW–Madison is expected to take three to six months. Bharat Biotech in Hyderabad will then begin production scale-up for safety and efficacy testing in humans, said a statement on April 2. CoroFlu could be in human clinical trials by the fall of 2020. Bharat Biotech will manufacture the vaccine, conduct clinical trials and prepare to produce the vaccine for global distribution and can produce almost 300 million doses per year, the statement added.
PayU rolls out initiatives for small merchants and businesses
Payment gateway services provider PayU has laucnhed a series of initiatives to enable small merchants, businesses and entrepreneurs manage disruptions caused by the Covid-19 crisis. These include ffering to build a free website for any merchant with a built-in payment gateway and get 100% TDR waiver on the first Rs 50,000 worth of business done via PayU; and easy loans via a partnership with Indifi. More details here.
TCS arm launches free digital certification programme for college students
TCS iON, a strategic unit of Tata Consultancy Services, announced a free, 15-day self-paced digital certification programme called Career Edge to help college-going students and professionals sharpen career skills during the global lockdown, the company said in a statement. The programme consists of Nano videos, case studies and assessments and can be accessed anywhere, anytime on any device.
Number of positive cases for Covid-19 in India reach 2,547
The number of people tested positive for Covid-19 infection has reached 2,547 including 62 fatalities according to data shared by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare as of 6 PM Friday. The figure also includes 162 patients who have been cured and discharged.
Centre releases Covid-19 relief funds to states
The Union finance ministry on Friday released a total of Rs 17,287.08 crore to different states to enhance their financial resources during the Covid-19 crisis. The amount includes Rs 6,195.08 crore on account of ‘revenue deficit grant’ under 15th Finance Commission recommendations to 14 States.
These States are Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Punjab, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Tripura, Uttarakhand & West Bengal. The remaining Rs 11,092 crore is to all States as advance payment of Central share of 1st instalment of SDRMF. pic.twitter.com/GqiIc1FnAr— NSitharamanOffice (@nsitharamanoffc) April 3, 2020
NHA partners with Uber India for healthcare workers commute
The National Health Authority has partnered with cab-hailing service provider Uber to provide safe, reliable and efficient transport for India’s frontline healthcare workers engaged in the treatment of Covid-19 patients, it said in a statement on Friday. The pilot project will have Uber deploy 150 cars, free of cost, to support medical facilities in New Delhi, Noida, Ghaziabad, Kanpur, Lucknow, Prayagraj and Patna through its recently launched UberMedic service.
11 CISF jawans test positive for Covid-19 in Mumbai
Eleven CISF jawans posted at the Mumbai airport have tested positive for coronavirus, the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) said in a statement on Friday. A total of 142 jawans were under quarantine for the last few days, out of which four were tested positive on Thursday and others were tested positive on Friday.
Cyient helps Cyberabad police with drone surveillance
Hyderabad-based global engineering and technology solutions provider Cyient has partnered with the Cyberabad metropolitan police to offer drone-based surveillance technology in order to implement the Covid-19 lockdown in the city. The drones have been equipped with surveillance cameras, thermal imaging sensors as well as battery-operated speakers to make public announcements.
BigBasket to hire 10,000 delivery, warehousing staff
Grocery delivery company BigBasket is looking to hire 10,000 delivery personnel and warehouse workers to meet the surge in demand post the 21-day lockdown announced in view of Covid-19. Softbank backed Grofers has also ramped up its hiring to meet the surge in demand as on-demand grocery businesses resume operations after the initial hiccups as a result of the nationwide lockdown.
Indian equity benchmarks slump as extended weekend begins
When stock markets on Friday closed towards a three-day break, S&P BSE Sensex was low by 2.39% at 27,590.95 levels, while Nifty 50 Index last traded at 8,083.80 levels, down by 2.06%. The markets will reopen on Tuesday. Globally, coronavirus cases surpassed 1 million with more than 45,000 deaths.
DRDO develops bio-suit for Covid-19 management
Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has developed a bio suit to keep the medical, paramedical and other personnel engaged in combating COVID-19 safe from the deadly virus, the central government said in a statement on Thursday.
RBI changes time for money markets
In an unprecedented move, the Reserve Bank of India has changed the timing of operation for money markets in view of the Covid-19 pandemic. With effect from April 7, the operation time for the money market will be 10 am to 2 pm instead of 9 am to 5 pm, apart from similar time slabs for operation for government securities, commercial papers and certificate of deposits and others. The change in time will be in effect till April 17, said a notification from the central bank.
RBI Notifies Changes in Market Hourshttps://t.co/YUL29iOtJ1— ReserveBankOfIndia (@RBI) April 3, 2020
German co SAP launches 3 mn euro package for Covid-19 relief
Business software company SAP has established a 3 million euros ($3.24 million) Covid-19 emergency fund to support the urgent needs of the World Health Organization, the CDC Foundation, and smaller nonprofits and social enterprises that work on the front lines serving local communities in crisis, it said in a statement on Thursday.
Google releases anonymised data from Maps
Google will provide aggregated, anonymized data from its Maps platform to show how busy certain types of places are, for public officials worldwide to keep a tab on how social distancing guidelines are being followed, the search engine giant said in a blog post on Friday. The Covid-19 Community Mobility Reports will provide insights into what has changed in response to work from home, shelter in place, and other policies to control the pandemic. The company published an early release of the data, here.
Swiggy rebrands Go to Genie
Food delivery platform Swiggy has renamed its hyperlocal delivery service ‘Swiggy Go’ to ‘Swiggy Genie,’ according to a memo it issued to all its users in Bengaluru on Friday. The note added that Genie has been launched earlier than initially planned as a way to help its users during the Covid-19 lockdown. In September, the parent holding unicorn, Bundl Technologies, had rolled out Swiggy Go, an instant pick up and drop service in Bengaluru.
Bigbasket is on an look-out for delivery execs as orders surge
Online grocery platform Bigbasket is looking to hire delivery executives and warehouse staffers as it is currently experiencing a surge in orders during the Covid-19 lockdown, it said in a statement on Friday. The aim is to give them employment and also ensure that our customers receive their orders on time, it said. Interested candidates can contact Bigbasket at the following contact numbers. Bangalore: 8861739033; Chennai: 9677093223; Hyderabad: 7410043513; Mumbai: 9768777067; Pune: 9960696639; Ahmedabad: 9327110208; Kolkata: 8276030816; Delhi, Gurgaon and Noida: 8800353566.
Revv offers free car rentals to healthcare professionals
Hyundai-backed self-drive rental platform Revv has offered over 1,000 free cars to healthcare workers for their commuting purposes as frontline respondents in the Covid-19 crisis, it said in a statement on Friday. The service is currently active in 5 cities -- Delhi, Bengaluru, Mumbai, Chennai and Pune -- wherein Revv will make its current fleet of cars available, free of charge, to healthcare workers currently engaged in active duty at a hospital, upon submission of relevant ID proof; eligible beneficiaries can reach out to Revv at 9250035555 to place a booking.
Omidyar offers Rs 1 cr to coalition of grassroot orgs
Impact investor firm Omidyar Network India has created a fund of Rs 1 crore earmarked to 20 grassroot civil society organisations, as a part of its rapid community response initiative. The funding, it said, will help the coalition of the organizations work with migrant labourers and their dependents in rural areas.
Indian stock markets open to sliding indices
Indian equities continued to decline Friday, post a one-day holiday, right before an extended weekend. Markets will be shut on Monday. The S&P BSE Sensex Index slipped by 1.58% to 27,819.79 as of 11:14 AM. The NSE Nifty 50 Index dropped by 1.52% to 8,128.50 as of 11:07 AM. Right around Indian markets opened Friday morning, PM Modi asked Indians to light candles on a pre-decided date and time to “challenge the darkness” of the Covid-19 crisis and practice social distancing, in a video message.
Number of positive cases for Covid-19 reach 2,301
The number of people tested positive for Coronavirus infection has touched 2,301 including 56 dead according to the latest numbers shared by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. Of these, 156 patients have been cured and discharged.
MHA exempts mandis, Anganwadi workers from lockdown
The Ministry of Home Affairs has added new categories of services and businesses for exemption from the 21-day lockdown. In an order issued on Thursday, MHA said that direct marketing of agriculture produce through ‘Mandis’, food and nutrition support to children, expectant and lactating mothers by Anganwadi workers as well as medical services and drug manufacturing are also exempt from the lockdown.
#IndiaFightsCOVID19— Spokesperson, Ministry of Home Affairs (@PIBHomeAffairs) April 2, 2020
MHA to States: Specific Services exempt under #Lockdown21 restrictions
?direct marketing of agricultural produce
?food & nutrition support to children, women, lactating mothers by Anganwadi workers
?medical services & drug manufacturing under AYUSH category pic.twitter.com/79fxOPCujc
PM Modi asks citizens to light candles, diyas on Sunday
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has requested citizens to switch off all lights at home at 9:00 PM on Sunday for nine minutes and light a candle, diya, or mobile phone flashlight to mark the fight against Coronavirus. Modi also appealed to the people in the country to avoid gathering anywhere during this period and avoid going out into the streets. He asked the nation to stick to their doorsteps and balconies for the activity.
A video messsage to my fellow Indians. https://t.co/rcS97tTFrH— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) April 3, 2020
Google commits $6.5 mn to combat Covid-19 misinformation
Search engine giant Google has announced a $6.5 million aid to fund fact-checkers and nonprofits that are fighting misinformation across the world, with an immediate focus on Covid-19, Alexios Mantzarlis, news and information credibility lead at Google News Lab said in a blog post on Thursday.
Today, Google is providing $6.5M to support the fight against COVID-19 misinformation. The goal is to:— Alexios (@Mantzarlis) April 2, 2020
1/ Support fact-checkers and nonprofits
2/ Increase access to data, scientists and fact checks
3/ Provide insights to health authoritieshttps://t.co/RlyygsWRgy
India gets $1 bn from World Bank’s $1.9 bn aid to developing countries
The World Bank on Thursday said it approved $1.9 billion in the first set of emergency funds for Covid-19 response operations, for 25 developing countries; over half of the aid, $1 billion, is earmarked to India’s Covid-19 response operations.The international lender is prepared to provide up to $160 billion over the next 15 months in a broader economic program, it said.
The @WorldBank Group is taking broad, fast action to reduce the spread of #COVID19.— David Malpass (@DavidMalpassWBG) April 2, 2020
Today’s Board approval allows us to continue this important work & further strengthen developing nations' ability to respond.
Read more here: https://t.co/Y8dTkxalhM
Confirmed Covid-19 cases in India at 2,069
India had 2,069 positive Covid-19 cases as on April 2, 2020. The death toll stood at 53 and the number of people cured and discharged was 155, according to the MoHFW.
Uber to deliver essentials to Bigbasket consumers in Bengaluru, Hyderabad
Ride hailing platform Uber has launched a new last mile delivery service and signed up Bigbasket as its first client to enable consumers to access everyday essentials amidst the current nationwide lockdown. The company will deploy a mix of UberGo, UberXL and UberMoto vehicles for the same. It will also share its technology and network of delivery partners to support Bigbasket in delivering essentials to consumers’ doorsteps. The service will enable Bigbasket to serve its customers in Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Chandigarh and Noida, said a statement.
Zomato launches Gold Support Fund to aid restaurant staff, families
Zomato has announced a Gold Support Fund, whereby all proceeds from the purchase of Zomato Gold annual memberships in April will go towards supporting restaurant housekeepers, cooks and servers as well as their families. As a token of gratitude, all users who purchase the Gold annual subscription during this month will get a 2-year membership, instead of one year, at no additional cost, the company said in a statement.
Avail Finance loan programme for gig economy workers
Online lending platform Avail Finance has rolled out a loan programme for gig economy workers in India. Called Avail Assist, the programme will provide financial support to on-ground contract workforce who are not eligible for employee benefits. The loans will have a repayment holiday through the pandemic, the company said in a statement.
Delhi launches Covid-19 Helpline on WhatsApp
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s government has launched a dedicated WhatsApp helpline number -- +91 88000 07722 -- an automated chatbot service for those who seek a free-to-use central source for accurate, trustworthy and up-to-date information on the ongoing pandemic, according to a statement on Thursday.
Swiggy says it will serve meals to those in need during lockdown
Swiggy will provide daily meals to “the underprivileged, daily wagers and stranded migrant labourers who have limited access to nutritious food during the 21-day lockdown,” it said in a statement on Thursday. The food delivery platform said that it was in the process of crowdsourcing funds from corporates and individuals to match its goal to serve 5 lakh meals per day across the country.
Govt launches Aarogya Setu app for Covid-19 risk tracking
In a press briefing, the government today announced that it has launched the Aarogya Setu app for citizens to assess their risk of being infected with COvid-19. The risk score is calculated based on the person’s interaction with others using Bluetooth technology and AI. The app records personal information on the phone of the user till it is needed for medical intervention. The app is available in 11 languages on Google Play Store and Apple Store.
OYO CEO, leadership team take salary cuts
OYO co-founder Ritesh Agarwal announced that he will forgo his salary for the year 2020, while the leadership team will opt for a voluntary 25-50% pay cut in view of Covid-19. The budget hospitality chain which was last valued at $10 bn in 2019 has also announced an employee welfare fund for employees at its properties, asset partners and staff members.
Health min identifies Covid-19 hotspots in India
The Union Health Ministry on Thursday identified 20 existing and 22 potential hotspots of Covid-19 in India. However, it also said there is no evidence of widespread community transmission. In order to break the cycle of transmission, the ministry published a nine-paged document for training resources and clinical and human resources of the pandemic in the country, here.
Rail min deploys Special Parcel Trains for essentials transportation
Indian Railways has offered services of its 30 Special Parcel Trains for nationwide transportation of essential commodities and other goods required to meet the needs of citizens. While freight trains are already meeting the needs of bulk transportation of essential goods like foodgrains, edible oil, salt, sugar, coal, cement, milk, vegetables and fruits, parcel trains will transport items that need to be delivered in comparatively smaller quantities.
.@RailMinIndia offering its unhindered services of Parcel Trains for nationwide transportation of essential commodities and other goods required to meet the needs of citizens #IndiaFightsCorona— PIB India ???????? #StayHome #StaySafe (@PIB_India) April 2, 2020
Paytm to offer temporary stay for healthcare professionals
Digital payments platform Paytm has launched a special hotel listings page on its app to support temporary accommodation needs of the medical frontline workers, it said in a statement on Thursday. Paytm has partnered with 300 hotels in over 60 cities, it said.
LinkedIn offers free job postings for critical roles to combat Covid-19
Professionals networking platform LinkedIn has offered free job postings and hiring resources to companies from frontline workers’ industries such as healthcare, supermarket, warehousing, freight delivery and disaster relief nonprofits to help them find talent quickly. The companies can post the urgent jobs for free from April 1 to June 30, the Microsoft owned company said in a statement on Thursday.
Snapdeal resumes operations
Snapdeal has resumed operations in 96 cities to cater to essentials such as rice, tea, coffee, wheat flour, household cleaning supplies, the e-commerce marketplace said in a statement on Thursday. It has tied up with local grocers, farmer markers and wholesalers in metro cities.
NPPA notifies new regulations to control drug pricing amid Covid-19
National Pharmaceuticals Pricing Authority of India has notified that 24 classes of medical devices shall be regulated under the provisions of Drug (Price Control) Order 2013, effective from April 1, so as to ensure that no manufacturer increases the maximum retail price (MRP) more than 10% of MRP in the last 12 months, Health Ministry's Joint Secretary Luv Aggarwal said on Thursday.
.@nppa_india notifies that 24 classes of medical devices shall be regulated under the provisions of Drug (Price Control) Order 2013 w.e.f. 01.04.2020. It is to ensure that no manufacturer increases the MRP more than 10% of MRP in last 12 months.#IndiaFightsCorona— #IndiaFightsCorona (@COVIDNewsByMIB) April 2, 2020
Via @PIB_India pic.twitter.com/4jWLkaa0HI
Confirmed Covid-19 cases in India nears the 2,000 mark
At least 50 people have died so far in India from the Covid-19 disease and a total of 1,965 are now confirmed to be affected, according to the latest data published by the MoHFW. The death toll in Maharashtra has risen to 13 since last evening and the total number of people affected by the disease in the state has jumped to 390.
Hiver offers free plan for orgs providing essential services
Hiver, a shared inbox software solution for teams, has offered its highest-tier plan for two months of free usage to any “small organization helping control the virus or offering essential services,” such as research institutions, grocery services or groups involved in the supply chain of protective gear, among other businesses on the frontline, it said in a statement on Thursday.
Auto and health insurance policy holders get extension for renewal premium
The government has provided relief for third-party auto insurance policy holders and health insurance policy holders in light of the #Covid19 situation. The relevant notifications are attached below. #IndiaFightsCorona pic.twitter.com/5YK86vdXBw— NSitharamanOffice (@nsitharamanoffc) April 2, 2020
MHA asks states and union territories to set up portal for fact checking on Covid-19
In a DO dated April 1, the home secretary has asked all states and union territories to create a web portal to verify news on Covid-19. It has also directed states to provide basic amenities to migrant workers stuck in relief centres. The ministry will submit the action-taken report submitted by multiple state governments to the SC on April 7 during the next hearing of an ongoing PIL.
After NY, Amazon warehouse workers at Detroit join protest
After the workers walkout at New York, another Amazon warehouse, at Detroit saw employees protest this week over staff concerns on contracting Covid-19 on the job. The protest, which came after a worker tested positive for the virus, has not impacted fulfillment of customer orders, Amazon said, as per US media reports. Earlier this week, 15 employees at an Amazon fulfillment center in Staten Island, New York joined a walkout, and dozens more went on strike at a company facility near Florence, Italy.
Moody's downgrades outlook for Indian banks
Moody's Investors Service on Thursday downgraded its outlook for India’s banking system to ‘negative’ from ‘stable’ as the coronavirus pandemic is expected to trigger unemployment and affect asset quality, according to media reports.
Confirmed Covid-19 cases in India cross 1,800
The number of people currently affected by the contagious Covid-19 disease in India has risen to 1,649, taking the total tally of positive cases in the country to 1,834, according to data released by the MoHFW on Wednesday evening. The total number includes 41 deaths and 143 patients who have been cured or discharged. Maharashtra continued to report the highest number of affected people at 350. Kerala had a total of 266 positive cases while Tamil Nadu had 241, as on April 1, 2020.
Wipro, Azim Premji Foundation commit more than Rs 1,000 crore to fight pandemic
The Wipro Group and the philanthropic foundation of promoter Azim Premji have committed Rs 1,125 crore to help fight the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. The foundation will contribute Rs 1,000 crore, flagship company Wipro will put in Rs 100 crore and Wipro Enterprises will bring in Rs 25 crore, a joint statement from the three entities said.
TikTok donates hazmat suits, masks for medical staff in India
Bytedance-owned Tiktok is donating 400,000 hazmat medical protective suits and 200,000 masks to protect doctors and frontline medical staff in India, the company said in a statement.
Bounce cuts employee, founder salaries
Scooter sharing platform Bounce announced temporary salary cuts for employees in view of Covid-19 from April 1. Founders will forego 100% salary during the period. The move will only affect employees on-roll with an annual income of Rs 3 lakh and above.
We @bounceshare have announced salary cuts across the org other than those less than 3 Lakhs p.a. The pay cut is graded based on salary. Needless to say, Founders would take a 100% pay cut. This will give us run-way of beyond 30 months. Glad we raised money when we didn't need.— vivek (@vivekanandahr) April 1, 2020
Startups, investors and corporates announce Rs 100 cr ACT Grants for Covid-19
Members of the Indian startups ecosystem including founders, venture capital firms and investment advisors as well as corporates and industry bodies have announced the formation of Rs 100 crore ACT Grant programme to fund over 50 initiatives from NGOs, SMEs and startups engaged in developing solutions to fight Covid-19. A 25-member core team will evaluate and recommend ideas for the program.
Union HRD minister discusses preparedness of IITs during Covid-19
Union HRD minister Ramesh Pokhiryal chaired a video conference with all 23 IIT directors to review the preparedness of the institutes for Covid-19. He directed that maximum students be covered through online courses and salary/ pension / scholarships of staff and students be paid in time.
National Monitoring Dashboard for Covid-19 launched
Following the recommendations by the empowered group, the Department of administrative reforms and public grievances (DARPG) launched the National Monitoring Dashboard for Covid-19 related issues. All ministries / departments have been asked to prioritise grievance redressal within 3 days. On Day 1, 262 grievances related to the central government and 83 grievances related to state governments were reviewed.
Markets reach one-week low
Markets slip to one-week lows as Sensex drops by 1,203.18 points at close or 4.08% at 28,265.30 levels, while Nifty 500 slipped by 234.8 points or 3.36% to close at 6761 levels. IT was top losing index with a fall of 5.6%.
Two Delhi doctors test positive for Covid-19
Two resident doctors of Delhi’s Safdarjung Hospital have tested positive for Covid-19, said a wire report. MoHFW till Tuesday maintained that there were no known cases of doctors treating Coronavirus patients testing positive for the infection. Four days back, a retired urologist in a Mumbai hospital and his son tested positive and the former succumbed to the infection.
Two resident doctors of Safdarjung Hospital in Delhi test positive for COVID-19: Official sources— Press Trust of India (@PTI_News) April 1, 2020
Portea provides on-call quarantine management service to clients
Home healthcare service provider Portea has launched home quarantine solution ‘Fit to Fight Corona’ according to a company statement. The platform will provide direct customers and corporate partners a 14-day quarantine management service including telephonic assessment and education, on-call checks on vitals including temperature, heart rate, respiratory rate as well as three on-call consultations with a doctor on day zero, day seven and 14th day.
Telcos say no additional spectrum needed to maintain current loads on network
Industry association representing telcos has said that there is no need for additional spectrum to maintain quality of networks and services. In a statement, COAI director general Rajan S Mathews said that recent measures including reducing the quality of streaming services from HD to SD, bringing back sealed towers online by local municipalities and redistribution of traffic on the network were sufficient to cater to the present condition.
Uber unveils new service for healthcare workers in India
Uber Cabs has launched a new service called UberMedic to provide frontline healthcare authorities in India an access to its network of drivers for transportation needs to and fro medical facilities, it said in a statement on Wednesday.
Positive COVID-19 cases cross 1600 in India
The total number of people infected with Covid-19 in India shot up to 1,637 since last evening. Out of those, 132 were cured or discharged. A total of 38 people have died from the disease, according to data published by the MoHFW.
Jungleworks to help Haryana district deliver essentials via drones
Seattle headquartered software as a service (SaaS) provider Jungleworks has partnered with the Panipat district administration in Haryana to deliver daily essentials to Covid-19 quarantined suspects using drones. The drones assigned for the task can carry loads of up to 4 kilograms and travel within a 5 kilometres radius from the launch location.
RBI announces further measures for dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic
In added measures to tacking the Covid-19 crisis, the Reserve Bank of India announced additional measures, including one to extend the realisation period of export proceeds. Presently, the value of the goods or software exports made by the exporters is required to be realized fully and repatriated to the country within a period of 9 months from the date of exports.
In view of the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the time period for realization and repatriation of export proceeds for exports made up to or on July 31, 2020, has been extended to 15 months from the date of export. The measure will enable the exporters to realise their receipts, especially from COVID-19 affected countries within the extended period and also provide greater flexibility to the exporters to negotiate future export contracts with buyers abroad, the central bank said in a circular on Wednesday.
RBI announces further measures for dealing with the COVID-19 pandemichttps://t.co/5EwBu7T9ST— ReserveBankOfIndia (@RBI) April 1, 2020
US start-ups cut over 3,500 jobs in March
Startups in the United States have slashed about 4,000 jobs, according to a CNBC report on Tuesday that cited a compilation of several media reports. The layoffs spanned over 40 companies that have collectively raised more than $14 billion. The job cuts underscore the far-reaching impact of the crisis and shows that once fast-growing businesses in Silicon Valley and beyond are not protected from the fall-out, the report added.
Covid-19 expected to cut global corporate tech spend by 4.1% in 2020
The fallout of the Covid-19 outbreak will result in a cut of between 3.7% to 4.1% in IT spending for 2020, Reuters reported, citing survey data from Enterprise Technology Research. ETR polled about 1,300 of global chief information officers and other senior tech executives. Corporate revenue has taken a hit from broken supply chains, less demand from consumers and businesses and productivity losses with most employees working from home, the report added.
Palo Alto Networks pledges $4 mn for wage workers, no lay-offs for Covid-19
Nikesh Arora, CEO of Palo Alto Networks announced that the company board will pool in a total of $4 million to support wage earners at the company including cafeteria and security staff in view of the lockdown related to Covid-19. He asked employees to contribute to the fund and added that there will be no lay-offs related to the lockdown period in a Tweet on Tuesday. Arora also said that he will forgo a month’s salary, reported to be close to $1 million.
Today we announced a COVID Relief Fund - seed contribution from our mgmt, the board, the company and me of 4M+ - we will match employees 4x. Foregoing salary to contribute. Also, committed to no COVID related layoffs to allay concerns of our employees. #gopaloaltonetworks— Nikesh Arora (@nikesharora) March 31, 2020
Karnataka police to seize private vehicles for violating lockdown
The Director General of Police in Karnataka said that the law enforcement will seize all two and four wheelers in use during the 21-day lockdown for violation. This will be valid till April 14. The social media post did not give any explanation on exemption in case of emergency or which law will govern the action.
This is not an April Fool's prank. Two/ four wheelers are banned from use till the 14th of April. We will SEIZE your vehicle if you CEASE to ignore this lockdown regulation.— DGP KARNATAKA (@DgpKarnataka) April 1, 2020
NYC probes firing of protesting Amazon worker
New York City’s Commission on Human Rights is investigating Amazon over allegations an employee at a Staten Island warehouse was terminated for organizing a walkout over working conditions in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. Amazon had said on Monday that it had fired Chris Smalls, the warehouse employee, because he showed up at work after being in contact with a colleague who was diagnosed with Covid-19, despite being asked to remain home with pay for 14 days. The walkout was to persuade Amazon to shut down the Staten Island facility for deep cleaning after multiple cases of the coronavirus emerged there, multiple US media outlets reported citing the protestors.
Facebook pledges $100 mn to news orgs
Social media giant Facebook on Monday pledged $100 million in financing and advertising spending to support news organizations, including local publishers in the United States, reeling in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis.
Zoom surpasses Microsoft Teams as Covid-19 keeps citizens at home
As pandemic affected corporate systems across the world take to remote working, average user numbers of video conferencing platform Zoom in March were about thrice than that of Microsoft’s Teams chat and conferencing platform, Reuters reported citing data from Apptopia on Wednesday. Stock price of Zoom, which made trading debut at $36 per share in 2019, was trading at $146 on Tuesday. Its market value has more than doubled since end-January.
Markets off to a weak start in April
BSE Sensex was down by 756.96 points or 2.57% at 28,711.53 levels, while the Nifty 50 was down by 211.60 points or 2.46% at 8,386.15 levels. Kotak Mahindra Bank was the top drag on Sensex.
FM calls for strengthened IMF toolkit on Covid-19 related financing needs
Union Minister for Finance and Corporate Affairs Nirmala Sitharaman has suggested to the International Monetary Fund to come up with “innovative and ingenious methods” to meet Covid-10 related financing requirements in the policy space at a G20 meeting of finance ministers and central bank governors, according to a statement from the Indian finance ministry. The statement added that Sitharaman also urged the international body to use its existing resources to create a non-stigmatised short-term liquidity swap facility which could be rapidly deployed as and when needed by the countries. Additionally, the minister appealed on the need to allow flexibility for countries to engage in new lines of bilateral swap arrangements as per requirements, in the virtual meet. The G20 is an international group for governments and central bank governors from 19 countries and the European Union.
SC directs on the need to curb fake news in a pandemic-stricken environment
The Supreme Court directed the media to stick to the official government version about developments of Covid-19 when reporting news, in a hearing of a public interest litigation seeking directions for the government to take urgent steps to help migrant workers in the wake of the Covid-19 lockdown on Tuesday. It also held that the central government will provide a daily bulletin through all media avenues, including social media forums, for dissemination of verified news. The apex court order held that panic can severely affect mental health.
Quikr launches platform to track real time status of grocery stores, pharmacies, hospitals
Classifieds platform Quikr has launched stillopen.in that aims to help people to identify the nearest grocery stores, hospitals and pharmacies, COVID-19 centres, and other stores classified as essentials in real-time. The platform also allows its users to update store status and hygiene, add information on groceries along with reviews, images and more directly from their smartphones. It is currently available for access in 23 cities including Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai, Pune, Mumbai, Delhi, Gurgaon, Noida, Lucknow and Kolkata.
Total postive cases in Maharashtra crosses 300
Maharashtra, home to the country's financial capital, continues to be worst hit by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. The total number of infected in the state has risen to 302, Rajesh Tope, minister of public health and family welfare, Maharashtra, said last evening.
Covid-19 positive cases in India at nearly 1,400; Death toll at 35
The number of people who have succumbed to Covid-19 in India has climbed to 35 even as the total number of people infected by the virus has increased to 1397 -- up by 146 from last night -- according to the latest data available on the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare website. The number of people cured and discharged now stands at 123. Maharashtra reported the highest number of positive cases at 264 while Kerala reported the second highest number at 254. The death toll is the highest in Maharashtra at 9. This is data is as on March 31, 2020, 8:30 PM.
Google, Facebook seek to defer new Indian digital tax by six months: Reuters
US technology giants such as Google and Facebook, who have an extensive presence in India, may seek a deferment of the new Indian digital tax, Reuters reported. India had announced last week that all foreign billings for digital services provided in the country would attract a 2% tax starting April 1, 2020.
Covid-19 infects 719,700 globally; death toll rises to 33,673: WHO
The worldwide infection from Covid-19 has reached 719,700 within 3 months of its outbreak. The pandemic that has affected 202 nations has killed 33,673 people across 202 countries, as reported by the World Health Organization (WHO) in their latest tally at 10:00 Central European Time (CET) on 31 March, 2020. The United States of America remains the most affected nation with 140,640 cases so far.
Govt extends validity of lower withholding tax orders
Finance Ministry has extended the validity of all lower withholding tax orders by three months till June 30. The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) in its order gave a major relief to taxpayers whose application for lower or nil deduction of TDS/TCS is pending for disposal.
Ixigo cuts employee salaries to avoid layoffs
Travel and hotel booking firm Ixigo’s leadership team will take a 60% pay cut while other employees will suffer pay cuts in the range of 20-50%. The company employs close to 150 employees in its headquarters in Gurugram, its only location in India. Company’s co-founders Aloke Bajpai and Rajnish Kumar will take a 100% paycut, the company said.
Swiggy sets up Covid-19 relief fund for its delivery partners
Online food delivery platform Swiggy has set up a relief fund called ‘Swiggy Hunger Savior Covid Relief Fund’ which will be used towards the safety and welfare of delivery partners and their families. The corpus for the fund will be created by Swiggy with primary contributions from the founders, senior leaders, employees and investors, as well as donations from customers and well-wishers, the company said in a statement.
NRAI to produce and distribute 10 mn meals
National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI), which represents 500,000 restaurants, will produce and distribute about 10 million meals in coordination with various authorities and NGOs during the lockdown. These meals cost anywhere between Rs 20 and Rs 25 per head and the financial resources for this initiative will be partially crowdfunded, it said in a statement.
Temporary shelters for migrant workers: MoHFW
21,064 relief camps with 6.66 lakh migrant workers housed across states and Union Territories and food being provided to 23 lakh poor, destitue and stranded migrant workers.
Paytm Mall waives order delay cancellation penalties
Paytm Mall has waived off order delay and cancellation penalities on merchants due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic until 22 April 2020. The company said that there were over 100,000 orders placed by customers which were yet to be processed by sellers, due to the restrictions announced by the government.
Empowered science and technology committee formed for COVID-19
In response to COVID-19 an empowered committee of science and technology has been constituted. The committee is chaired by DR VK Paul of NITI Aayog and Dr K Vijay Raghavan, principal scientific advisor to the government. The committee also will also coordinate with DRDO, IISc, CSIR, DST and DBT.
Razorpay launches same day settlements
Payments gateway Razorpay has launched ‘Same Day’ settlements for all customers who provide essential businesses till April 15th. Businesses will receive funds in just a few hours instead of the usual 3-5 working days settlement period. This will help businesses improve their cash flows and manage operational expenses better, the company said in a statement.
DRDO specifies technical features of ventilators used for COVID-19
Government agency DRDO has specified technical features for the ventilators to be used in view of the Covid-19 pandemic. Six technical features were specified by the director general of life sciences, DRDO during the empowered group meeting for ensuring availability of essential medical equipment on March 30.
Essential technical features for ventilators have been identified by @DRDO_India, as decided at the meeting of the Empowered Group for ensuring availability of essential Medical Equipment— PIB in Maharashtra ???????? #StayHome (@PIBMumbai) March 31, 2020
Here are the six features?? pic.twitter.com/CiZxLBu3iZ
Stock markets close stronger; IT services stocks gain
The Indian stock markets closed trading near the day's high today, amid positive
global market cues. The BSE Sensex ended 1,028 points higher at 29,468 and the Nifty
gained 316 points to trade at 8,597. Infosys and TCS closed with gain at more than 2%. HCL Tech was up by about 4% and Wipro’s stock closed the day with a gain of 6.87%.
Ola offers interest-free micro-credit to support driver-partners
Homegrown ride-hailing company Ola has launched ‘Sahyog’, an interest-free micro-credit scheme, which will help driver-partners get instant access to cash in their bank accounts. This move is aimed at addressing immediate liquidity needs of over 100,000 driver-partners of Ola, the company said in a statement.
Airtel extends prepaid validity for subscribers
Telecom major Bharti Airtel has extended the validity of prepaid packs for its customers until April 17, 2020. Prepaid packs of almost 80 million customers will remain active and will continue to receive incoming calls even after the validity is over, Airtel said in a statement.
Adivid launches e-pass for essentials during lockdown
Software as a service (SaaS) provider Adivid Technologies has launched an e-pass system for passes that must be carried by individuals directly involved in the movement of essential goods during the Covid-19 lockdown. It is currently in use by Maharashtra Police and is available to other state police departments.
Bharti Enterprises pledges Rs 100 crore support for Covid-19
Telecom major Bharti Enterprises has committed over Rs 100 crore to support the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic. A significant portion of the money will go to The Prime Minister's Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations (PM CARES) Fund and the rest will be used to procure personal protective equipment such as face masks for doctors, healthcare workers and other essential services personnel.
Airbnb earmarks $250 million for hosts to help cover cancellations
Airbnb has committed to pay $250 million to hosts who have had to face cancellation of reservations between March 14 and May 31 due to Covid-19 pandemic. Airbnb will pay the host 25% of what they would normally receive through their cancellation policy.
Health minister reviews sampling and testing strategy for COVID-19
Union minister for health and family welfare Dr Harsh Vardhan met senior officials of central research bodies ICMR, DST, DBT and CSIR on Monday to discuss procurement of reagents, website integration, data management and analysis and research studies on the COVID-19 pandemic. He was informed that 129 government labs and 49 NABL accredited private labs were functional for testing.
#CoronaVirusUpdate@drharshvardhan reviewed the sampling and testing strategy for #COVID19 in a high level meeting held at @ICMRDELHI.— Ministry of Health ???????? #StayHome #StaySafe (@MoHFW_INDIA) March 31, 2020
Details here:https://t.co/AXBapPporo #CoronaOutbreak #SwasthaBharat @PMOIndia @AshwiniKChoubey @PIB_India @DDNewslive @airnewsalerts
Kerala to issue special passes for tipplers to buy liquor during lockdown
Mohandas Pai reaches out to PM for video call with startups solving for Covid-19
Former Infsoys CFO and board member Mohandas Pai has written to the Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi for a video call with the startups of the country to discuss their work in combating Covid-19.
@PMOIndia @narendramodi Sir,StartUps want to do a videoCall with you,toDiscuss their work for Fighting virus and other issues,as you did with Industry!Letter sent to your office!Request video call! @PiyushGoyal @rsprasad @nsitharaman @ravigururaj @prashanthp @ragarg @SidPai275— Mohandas Pai (@TVMohandasPai) March 31, 2020
World economy to dip into a recession due to coronavirus: UN
The world economy will go into recession this year with a predicted loss of trillions of dollars of global income due to the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a UN trade report. The report highlighted that this will be a huge trouble for developing countries with the likely exception of India and China.
DPIIT to monitor manufacture and supply of essential goods
The government has set up a control room to monitor the manufacturing and supply of essential commodities and goods. Minister of railways and commerce, Piyush Goyal said that the DPIIT will monitor these services and a separate helpline will respond to queries from traders and industries on import and export of goods.
Facilitating smooth manufacturing & transportation of goods, Government has set up a control room to monitor issues faced by trade & industry.— Piyush Goyal (@PiyushGoyal) March 31, 2020
Also, our Government has set up a helpdesk to swiftly & efficiently answer queries relating to export & import issues. pic.twitter.com/ePpNOmioJb
Amazon and other delivery workers protest in US amid safety concerns
Delivery and warehouse gig workers across the United States of America are protesting against inadequate safety measures and insufficient pay for the risks they are confronting on the job during the Coronavirus pandemic. The protesting workers include those employed by Amazon and grocery delivery platform, Instacart.
Demand for Zoom will continue after pandemic: JPMorgan
Video conferencing company Zoom Video Communications has seen massive jump in usage and application downloads, at a time when the Covid-19 pandemic has forced millions of people globally to work from home. The stock price of the provider of online meeting and collaboration tools at last check rose 5.9% to $160.65. Monthly Active Users (MAU) at the company are up about 190% while Daily Active Users (DAU) are up about 378%, from a year ago, a brokerage research note from JPMorgan said, citing Apptopia data. The demand is set to continue even after the pandemic eases since companies "will want to be prepared to handle disruptions in the future," analyst Sterling Auty said in the note.
Markets start the day on a stronger note; IT stocks trade up
After yesterday’s slide, the stock markets opened the day on a rebound this morning. The BSE Sensex gained 850 points to open at 29,300 and the Nifty opened abovev 500 amid gains across global markets. The Nifty IT index also started the day on a positive note with Infosys, TCS, Wipro and HCL Tech up around 1.5%.
Positive Covid-19 cases in India at 1,251; 101 cured/ discharged
The number of postive Covid-19 cases reported in India climbed to 1,251 last night, according to data available on the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare website. Of these, 1117 are currently active while the death toll has risen to 32. The number of cases cured/ discharged stood at 101.
Infosys Foundation makes Rs 100 crore contribution to help fight Covid-19
Infosys Foundation is committing Rs 100 crore to support efforts towards fighting COVID-19 in India. The Foundation contributed half of this commitment to the PM CARES Fund. The remainder will primarily be deployed to expand hospital capacity for treatment and enable hospital stays for patients across India, especially ones belonging to the economically weaker sections of the society; provide ventilators, testing kits; and ensure better access to food and nutrition for the underprivileged sections of society, it said in a statement.
Ministry of finance eases procurement rules for medical and essential supplies
The department of expenditure has issued special instructions for speedy procurement and transportation of medical and other essential supplies in view of COVID-19. In a set of guidelines issued on March 27, the department has eased rules on procurement for all medical and essential supplies for the department of pharmaceuticals, ministry of health and family welfare, ministry of textiles, department of consumer affairs and ministry of civil aviation.
India Covid-19 death toll rises to 29; positive cases at 1,071
The total number of Covid-19 cases in India is at 1,071 after crossing the 1,000 mark yesterday. According to data available on the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare website, the total number of recovered cases is at 99 and death toll has reached 29.
RIL commits Rs 500 crore to prime minister's Covid-19 fund
Reliance Industries (RIL) today announced a donation of Rs 500 crore to the PM CARES Fund to support the fight against coronavirus. RIL has also provided contributions of Rs 5 crore each to the governments of Maharashtra and Gujarat to support their fight against Covid-19, the company said in a statement.
Amitabh Kant chairs first meeting of empowered committee on response measures
NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant chaired a meeting of the empowered committee with representatives of 32 civil society organisations (CSO), including World Bank, WHO, UNDP and others to support the local administration during the COVID-19 related lockdown. Kant asked the CSOs to support the administration by running decentralised kitchens and shelters, and encouraging social distancing among the vulnerable. He heads the empowered committee for coordinating with private sectors, NGOs and international organisations for response related activities as part of the 11 committees announced by MHA on Sunday.
#NITIAayog CEO @amitabhk87 chaired a meeting of the Empowered Committee with representatives of 32 CSOs & urged them to support local admin in mitigating #COVID19 by running decentralised kitchens & shelters, encouraging #SocialDistancing, especially among vulnerable communities pic.twitter.com/PPkAsObWvh— NITI Aayog (@NITIAayog) March 30, 2020
Apollo Hospitals join hands with Zomato, Oyo for Project Stay I
Apollo Hospital has partnered with Zomato, OYO, Biocon, Lemon Tree, Ginger Hotels, and other companies to launch Project Stay I. Under the project, the company will add 5,000 rooms for coronavirus patients to stay in isolation. The project is CSR funded by Hindustan Unilever Limited, SBI, and Deutsche Bank.
L&T to donates Rs 150 crore to PM CARES fund
Engineering conglomerate Larsen & Toubro (L&T) has pledged to donate Rs 150 crore to the PM-CARES fund to help combat Covid-19.Apart from this one-time contribution, the company has also set aside over Rs 500 crore per month to support about 160,000 contract workers by continuing to pay their wages during the ongoing 21-day lockdown.
SEBI announces relaxation in compliance for CRAs
SEBI announced relaxation in compliance by Credit Rating Agencies (CRAs) registered with the regulator in view of the COVID-19 pandemic and three-month moratorium on loan servicing and working capital facilities etc by RBI. If a delay in payment of interest/principle is made due to the lockdown or as a result of the moratorium issued by RBI, CRAs need not recognise it as a default.
SEBI announces certain relaxations in compliance by CRAs due to lockdown and RBI moratorium. pic.twitter.com/hRHDU5OXlR— NSitharamanOffice (@nsitharamanoffc) March 30, 2020
Market decline continued to closing; Sensex and Nifty close in red
Indian market continued to decline till the end of the trading day. Financial and banking stocks were the biggest losers on the stock exchange today. Sensex ended down 4.61% at 28440.32 while Nifty closed at 8281.10 which was a 4.38% of decline.
KlinicApp launches at home COVID-19 sample collection in Mumbai
Digital diagnostic brand KlinicApp has launched at-home sample collection for coronavirus test in Mumbai in partnership with government approved private labs such as Thyrocare and Metropolis. The tests will be offered only on doctor’s prescription and results will be provided within 48 hours for those with risk of community transmission.
Ola puts lockdown to best use; offers cabs to Karnataka government
Homegrown ride-hailing company Ola has agreed to give 500 vehicles to Karnataka government for Covid-19 related activities in the state. These vehicles will be used by the government for commute by doctors etc.
Olacabs has agreed to give 500 OLA vehicles for #Covid_19 related activities in Karnataka. These vehicles will be used by the government for commute by doctors and Covid 19 related activities. Greatly appreciated move by @olacabs and its CEO @bhash !#IndiaFightsCorona— Dr. Ashwathnarayan C. N. (@drashwathcn) March 30, 2020
IT stocks mostly in red
The bear market is pulling down IT stocks as well. Of the four major IT stocks, only Wipro was trading up, though marginally by around 1%. Infosys is trading down around 2%.
Stock markets remain volatile as Covid-19 cases mount
The stock markets, predictably, started the week on a sour note. The Sensex opened about 600 points lower at 29226.55 and dropped around 1100 points to as low as 28,708.83. The picture is equally ugly for Nifty, which is currently trading 2.71% lower at 8424.
PhonePe to donate Rs 100 crore for PM CARES fund
Walmart owned-Flipkart’s digital payments subsidiary PhonePe has pledged to donate up to Rs 100 crore or $13.25 million for the Prime Minister's Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations (PM CARES) Fund, over and above donations made through its platform, it said on Saturday.
Join our #100CrorePledge & donate to the PMCARES FUND using contactless UPI payments. Remember no contribution is too small. We'll add ?10 to everyone's donation.— PhonePe (@PhonePe_) March 28, 2020
Let's get 10 crore donors &we pledge to add ?100 crores on top.#PhonePe100CrorePledge #DonateKaroNaIndia
Marico Foundation offers grant worth Rs 2.5 crore as part of Covid-19 challenge
The Marico Innovation Foundation, a non-profit started in 2003 by Harsh Mariwala, founder and chairman of Mumbai-based FMCG giant Marico Ltd, has launched a grand challenge #Innovate2BeatCOVID. The programme, which will offer a grant of Rs 2.5 crore, is calling MedTech entrepreneurs, corporates and innovators from across the nation to contribute towards mitigating the risk of the outbreak.
To solve the global health crisis amidst #COVID19 we're launching #TheGrandChallenge for innovators across #India - with grants worth Rs. 2.5 Crores from @InnovationIndia @hcmariwala & A.T.E. Chandra Foundation— Marico Innovation Foundation (@InnovationIndia) March 29, 2020
Let us strike & #Innovate2BeatCOVID
Apply now https://t.co/x37Gu1nk0i pic.twitter.com/SzfZpZK0J9
Paytm aims to contribute Rs 500 crore to PM CARES Fund
Digital payments major Paytm is seeking contribution for PM CARES (Prime Minister's Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations Fund) on the Paytm app. The company is aiming to contribute Rs 500 crore to the fund. “For every contribution or any other payment made on Paytm using the wallet, UPI and Paytm Bank debit card, the company will contribute an extra upto Rs 10,” it said.
Paytm is aiming to contribute ?500 Crore to the PM CARES Fund.— Paytm (@Paytm) March 28, 2020
For every contribution, or any other payment done by you on Paytm, we will contribute an extra up to ?10.
Please contribute generously! ???? #IndiaFightsCorona @PMOIndia @narendramodi
Mahindra to manufacture face shields in partnership with Ford Motor
M&M chief Pawan Goenka announced that the company has partnered up with Ford Motor for making face shields to be used by medical service providers. Goenka said that M&M has borrowed the design from Ford Motor and aims to release 500 units on Monday, ramping up there on. M&M had recently announced partnering up with two public sector units to aid a third party manufacturer of high spec ventilators with design and production capacity. Goenka had added that the ventilators will soon be retailed at as low as Rs 7500, much cheaper than industry comparisons ranging from Rs 5 lakh to Rs 10 lakhs.
Update - With a design sourced from our partner Ford Motor, we are now ready to make this Face Shield for use of medical service providers. Targeting to make 500 on Monday and then ramp up. @MahindraRise @anandmahindra @PMOIndia update on ventilators on Monday. pic.twitter.com/x3UM1UdhcQ— Pawan K Goenka (@GoenkaPk) March 28, 2020
NASSCOM seeks govt aid for startups working on Covid-19 solutions
Information Technology industry lobby NASSCOM on Saturday reached out to government and appealed for relief measures for startups so that they continue to work under the stress of Covid-19. The industry body has requested the government to consider rental subsidy for workspaces used by startups which are regulated/owned/managed by government agencies. It also requested blanket suspension of all deadlines, including tax payment deadlines and filing deadlines until at least four weeks post lifting of all city lockdown.
We are putting together a detailed submission on all solutions that the industry is already working on to combat #COVID19.— NASSCOM (@nasscom) March 28, 2020
If your company is working on a #tech solution that you want to share with the government, then please send your entries to: firstname.lastname@example.org pic.twitter.com/WbqhYWUfJH
Covid-19 infects 638,146 globally; death toll rises to 30,105: WHO
The worldwide infection from Covid-19 has reached 638,146 within 3 months of its outbreak. The pandemic that has affected 202 nations has killed 30,105 people across the globe, as reported by the World Health Organization (WHO) in their latest tally at 18:00 Central European Time (CET) on 29 March, 2020. The United States of America remains the most affected nation with 103,321 cases so far.
Govt creates Empowered Groups to respond quicker to Covid-19 issues
The Ministry of Home Affairs constituted 11 'Empowered Groups' across sectors on Sunday. The groups, headed by secretaries of various departments, will ensure preparedness and responses related to Covid-19. The groups cover sectors including medical emergency management planning, availability of hospitals, isolation and quarantine facilities, maintaining logistics to ensure supply of essential goods and food among other aspects.
India Covid-19 death toll shoots up to 27; positive cases at 1,024
The total number of Covid-19 cases in India has crossed the 1,000 mark, according to data available on the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare website. The number of active cases are at 901 while the death toll has shot up to 27. India's 21-day lockdown entered its fifth day on Sunday.
Jack Ma Foundation, Alibaba Foundation ship face marks, test kits, ventilators to India
The Jack Ma Foundation and the Alibaba Foundation today announced donations of essential medical supplies to seven more countries, including India. Collectively, these seven countries will receive 1.7 million face masks, 165,000 test kits as well as protective clothing and medical equipment such as ventilators and forehead thermometers. The shipment for India arrived in Delhi on Saturday evening.
Bengaluru police rolls out e-passes to enable essential movements
The Karnataka State Police has partnered with myGate, a security solutions platform for gated societies, to deploy an e-pass system for organisations, including government entities, to enable their employees to go to work during the ongoing lockdown. The e-passes will be valid only in Bengaluru.
Google commits $800 mn-plus to help fight Covid-19
Google announces $800 million-plus commitment to support small and medium businesses, health organisation and governments, and frontline health workers around the world coping with the Covid-19 pandemic. This includes a $200 million investment fund that will support NGOs and financial institutions around the world to help provide small businesses with access to capital, and direct financial support and expertise to help increase the production capacity for personal protective equipment (PPE) and lifesaving medical devices, Google and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai said in a post on the company's website.
Ola launches Rs 20 cr fund for drivers
Cab-hailing platform Ola has launched a financial relief fund for its driver partner community in India. The company and its employees have already contributed initial capital of Rs 20 crore to the fund, while co-founder Bhavish Aggarwal forgo his salary for one year to deploy the money into the fund. The fund is also open to donations from investors and citizens in order to raise up to Rs 50 crore.
Alphabet ramps up coronavirus testing via Verily
Search engine giant Google’s parent company Alphabet has more than 1,000 volunteers from across the company working on Covid-19. The company’s life sciences unit Verily, had launched a coronavirus screening website last week, which directs people to local testing centers, and has opened "drive-thru" locations itself, manned by employees, according to multiple US media reports.
Home Secy meets state authorities for guidelines check
Home Secretary of India Ajay Kumar Bhalla held a meeting with all states, union territories and director generals of police (DGPs) to ensure that orders in relation to transport of essential goods as well as guidelines on taking care of migrant workers and students are relayed to the field level.
India to join WHO in developing anti-Covid19 drugs: ICMR
India will participate in the World Health Organization’s “solidarity trial” for developing potential drugs for Covid-19, the Indian Council of Medical Research has said, according to a PTI report.
Over a lakh of Indian cos go remote: Govt
An estimate of 1.4 lakh companies have allowed employees to work from home to check spread of coronavirus, the health ministry announced on Friday.
Financial inclusion startup RevFin to provide loans to e-rickshaw owners at zero interest
Digital lending fintech startup RevFin has offered to provide a loan of Rs 2,100 to its e-rickshaw owners at 0% interest, to support them during the global crisis. Customers can repay the loan in up to 8 installments. The company will allow EMI repayment moratorium of up to 3 months to its customers who have earlier taken loan for e-rickshaw, amidst the lockdown.
Gap between actual number of travellers and those being monitored by states: Cabinet Secy
Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba said there is a gap between the actual number of passengers and those being monitored by Indian states. Gauba said he wrote to all states to monitor 15 lakh international passengers who came to India from January 18 to March 23. The list of passengers as compiled by the Bureau of Immigration has already been shared with states.
Facebook launches messenger chatbot to share Covid-19 info
Facebook has launched a messenger chatbot called Corona Helpdesk Chatbot, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and MyGov to raise awareness, provide authentic and accurate information and bust fake news about the pandemic. Users can reach out to the Ministry of Health through the offering which has both English and Hindi language capabilities.
Follow the latest authentic news, expert information, official updates and MythBusters on #IndiaFightsCorona at ‘MyGov Corona Helpdesk Chatbot’ on Facebook. Visit: https://t.co/bfw5T4FHae and get started! #HelpUsToHelpYou pic.twitter.com/5z1lo0Ilcu— MyGovIndia (@mygovindia) March 26, 2020
BigBasket resumes operations, to clear pending orders first
On-demand grocery delivery platform BigBasket has resumed operations across all centres except Kochi. The company will prioritise pending orders which have been already paid for by the customers. The platform has assured customers that it will open up for new orders soon.
Dear customer,— bigbasket (@bigbasket_com) March 27, 2020
Sharing an update from our operations as of 1 PM, 27th March 2020 here.
Team, bigbasket. pic.twitter.com/kUEKKnVCFP
Union minister Goyal speaks to essential services reps in India
Minister of Railways and Commerce and Industry, Piyush Goyal helmed a meeting with stakeholders of the commerce and logistics industry to ensure smooth delivery of essential goods during the 21-day lockdown.
E-commerce founders and CEOs from companies such as Snapdeal, Shopclues, Flipkart, Grofers, NetMeds, PharmEasy, 1MG Tech, Udaan, Amazon India, Big Basket, Zomato. Large retail operators were represented by heads of Metro Cash & Carry, Walmart, RPG, whereas Express Industry Council, Delhivery, Safexpress, PayTM, Swiggy represented logistics operators.
Network is not stressed by Covid-19: Google
Google’s networks are designed to perform during times of peak events such as the Cyber Monday online shopping surge, or World Cup finals, the search engine giant’s Senior Vice President of technical infrastructure, Urs Hölzle said in a blogspot late Thursday in the United States.
The clarification follows a Google outage across the mainland US. Hölzle clarified on Twitter that the outage had nothing to do with traffic levels or Covid-19 since the company’s network is not stressed by Covid-19, and instead was a result of a router failure in Atlanta, Georgia.
“And while we’re seeing more usage for products like Hangouts Meet, and different usage patterns in products like YouTube, peak traffic levels are well within our ability to handle the load,” Hölzle added.
Delhi to provide movement passes via WhatsApp
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said e-passes for movement of people associated with delivering essential commodities, will be provided over WhatsApp. Essential service providers can directly WhatsApp their details to the relevant district phone numbers and receive e-passes.
SENSEX plunges by 550 pts
Indian equity markets turned red in stark difference to its morning gains, even after the central bank lowered the policy repo rate by 75 basis points to 4.4% to slow economic slowdown in the wake of the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak. The S&P BSE Sensex was down by 1.9%, at 29,380 levels. The Nifty50 index slipped below the 9,000-mark.
Cognizant employees to get higher base pay in light of pandemic
IT firm Cognizant has announced an additional payment of 25% of the base pay for April for employees up to associate level in India and the Philippines, according to an internal memo from CEO Brian Humphries. This applies to more than two-thirds of the workforce in India.
Milkbasket reworks delivery time as it resumes services
Micro-delivery platform MilkBasket will resume deliveries. It has pushed back its regular delivery time slot from 7:00 AM to 4:00 PM, co-founder and CEO Anant Goel tweeted on Friday afternoon.
Dear Customer - We're resuming our deliveries. Instead of regular 7:00 AM, we will be delivering during the day, by 4:00 PM. We really thank the authorities for listening to our concerns and ensuring safety of our employees and vendors.— Anant Goel (@AnantVGoel) March 27, 2020
Stay safe, Stay home! MilkBasket Hai Na!
Gig workers in US to also benefit off the historic $2 trillion stimulus
The United States Senate’s $2 trillion stimulus package on Thursday will provide for financial assistance to gig workers. As part of the bill gig workers, such as driver partners of cab-hailings services and food delivery executives, would be eligible to apply for unemployment benefits. The bill would also provide $600 per week in federal assistance for unemployed workers for up to four months. The benefits will come as a major relief to workers, who have been fighting for companies like Uber, Lyft and DoorDash to provide them with benefits.
SENSEX on a high around RBI governor’s address
The S&P BSE Sensex was up 162.40 points at 30,109 levels. The Nifty50 index also reclaimed the 9,000-mark. IndusInd Bank was the top gainer in the Sensex pack, rallying up to 20%.
RBI governor announces relief measures
Highlights: Liquidity measures include the auction of Target Long-Term Repo Operation (LTRO) of up to three-year tenure and upto Rs 1 lakh crore. Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) cut 100 basis points by 3%, in a measure to release Rs 1.37 lakh crore in the market. Banks and lending institutions can allow a moratorium of three months on payment of installments as of March 1, 2020. Banks may reassess the working capital cycle, they won't be treated as non-performing assets (NPA), says Das.
RBI governor Das addresses media, slashes repo rate by 75 bps to 4.4%
Highlights: Implied GDP growth of 4.24 in H2 is in question. Outlook for 2021, most sectors of the economy will be impacted adversely by the intensity, spread and duration of pandemic. The Monetary Policy Committee of India (MPC) decided to considerably reduce the repo rate to revive growth and mitigate the impact of Covid-19 while ensuring inflation remains within target. The policy repo rate was reduced by 75 basis points from 5.15% to 4.4%. The reverse repo rate was reduced by 90 bp, to 4%. The central bank (RBI) has quarantined 150 members with IT facilitators to ensure continuity of business.
Governor’s address to media https://t.co/vsfV13L0UK— ReserveBankOfIndia (@RBI) March 27, 2020
Covid-19 cases in India cross 700
Death toll rises to 17 in India. Total number of positive cases at 724, according to Ministry of Health & Family Welfare.
Moody’s slashes India’s growth rating
Moody's Investors Service on Friday lowered its estimate of India's gross domestic product (GDP) growth during the 2020 calendar year to 2.5% from an earlier estimate of 5.3%, on account of the rising economic cost of the coronavirus pandemic: Press Trust of India.
RBI governor to brief media today
RBI governor Shaktikanta Das is slated to hold a press briefing at 10.00 AM today.
MHA outlines SOP for suppliers of essentials
The Ministry of Home Affairs issues SOP for maintaining the supply of essential goods during the lockdown. Suppliers, including restaurants for home delivery of cooked food, warehouses, transporters, drivers and manufacturers of drugs, pharmaceuticals allowed to operate.
Covid-19 positive cases in India at nearly 700
Total number of Covid-19 positives cases in India rises to 694, according to data available on the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare website. Of these 633 are currently active. The death toll is now at 16.
B2B e-grocers turn B2C during lockdown
Business-to-business grocery delivery startups Jumbotail and Ninjacart have started delivering vegetables and other staples to residential areas in the wake of nationwide lockdown.
Innerchef offers to convert cloud kitchens into community kitchens
Innerchef founder and angel investor Rajesh Sawhney moots turning cloud kitchens into community kitchens, on Thursday morning.
Cloud Kitchens —-> Community Kitchens— Rajesh Sawhney (@rajeshsawhney) March 26, 2020
Poorest must be fed. Cloud kitchens can convert into community kitchens shd Govts enable it.
InnerChef offers all its kitchens at No profit to the Govts of Delhi, Noida, GGN,Bengaluru , Hyd & MUM @ArvindKejriwal @mlkhattar @AUThackeray pic.twitter.com/vo3ypfCNRo
Online food delivery platforms get banned in Chennai
Online food delivery platforms Zomato and Swiggy have been ordered to shut down by Chennai’s municipal corporation in an attempt to curb the spread of Covid-19 pandemic.
Airbnb hosts to provide housing to Covid-19 responders
Home rental startup Airbnb has announced a global initiative to help connect those responding to the Covid-19 pandemic with safe and convenient places to stay while they carry out their critical work, in a move expected to support 100,000 healthcare professionals, relief workers, and first responders around the world. It will further waive all fees for stays arranged through this initiative.
AIIMS sets up medical sub committees
All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Delhi has set up a task force to develop a management protocol to reduce the pandemic’s spread. It is creating committees such as resource management committee, human resource committee, diagnostic management committee and medical management committee.
Snapdeal relaxes rules for sellers to ensure flexibility and morale
Snapdeal has extended its timelines available to its sellers for shipping received orders. It has communicated to its sellers that no cancellation charges or penalties will be levied if they are not able to ship in time or ship at all, a company spokesperson told TechCircle.
Health ministry provides Thursday update
17 states in India have started work on earmarking hospitals for dedicated treatment of Covid-19 patients, Luv Aggarwal, joint health secretary said on Thursday afternoon.
Shopclues joins other online retailers in selling essentials
E-commerce platform Shopclues will retail food, medicines and medical equipment for its customers with immediate effect. The platform will retail essentials such as sanitizers, masks, packaged foods, groceries, medicines and personal hygiene products, according to a statement
Delhi withdraws order on letting online delivery exec movement in city
Delhi Police has withdrawn order allowing online delivery executives to operate, according to an Indian Express journalist on Twitter. Revised order will follow.
Indian stock indices go up as FM announces financial stimulus
Indian equity stocks hit the day's high as Finance Minister Nirmala Sithamran announced the economic package to help the poor and battle financial woes during the 21-day lockdown. Frontline index S&P BSE Sensex was up about 4%, at 29,550 levels, and the Nifty50 index hovered around 8,590 level, up 3.4%.
FM unveils Covid-19 Economic Relief Package for India
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announces an economic relief package worth Rs 1,70,000 crore in a move that is expected to benefit poor migrant workers, unorganized sectors and women. Other beneficiaries of the package include and addresses Gareeb Kalyan Yojana, Gareeb Kalyan Nidhi, frontline medical workers’ insurance covers for paramedics, doctors, nurses, sanitation workers and ASHA workers, Gareeb Kalyan Anna Yojana, MNREGA, Jan Dhan Yojana accounts, Ujjwala scheme, EPFO workers, construction workers, Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana (National Rural Livelihoods Mission), PM Kissan Yojana, senior citizens, widows and disabled and more.
Milkbasket resumes operations, with partial service
Micro-delivery platform Milkbasket has been able to resume partial operations across Gurugram, Noida and Bangalore. The platform’s Hyderabad operations are still shut, and is expected to resume services to all our customers by weekend, a company spokesperson told TechCircle Thursday afternoon.
Delhi CM updates status of movement passes provision
Delhi Chief Minister recommends to authorities to let movement of people without e-passes on roads, provided the individuals are seen carrying essentials such as milk cans or others. The generation of e-passes is an ongoing process. The minister requested gig economy workers such as food delivery companies to issue IDs for delivery executives in which case separate e-passes won't be required.Additionally, he said the state government will continue to conduct tests on doctors, paramedical staff who are engaged in treating Covid-19 patients.
I have just met with Hon'ble LG and spoken with all DMs over video conference. Sharing important updates about the lockdown and Covid-19 in Delhi. https://t.co/PV24GHRvhb— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) March 26, 2020
FM Nirmala Sitharaman to address media at 1 PM IST
Finance minister Sitharaman will address the media at 1 pm on Thursday, in her second media briefing within a week.
Mumbai Police opens lines of communication for essential delivery persons
All e-commerce and delivery service providers, catering essential commodities like food and medicines can directly message us on Twitter their contact number or email us at email@example.com for any assistance. Tweet or Dial 100 in case urgent: Mumbai Police. Relevant tweets can be hashtagged with #wEcommerceMumbai
Union Minister Javdekar audio-conferences with 350 govt officers
Union minister Prakash Javadekar advised officers of Information and Broadcasting (I&B) Ministry to be available around the clock and work even harder than usual to bring correct and authentic information to the masses, stressing that media and communication is an essential service during a pandemic.
#Lockdown21#21daylockdown #COVID2019 : Union Minister @PrakashJavdekar audio-conferences this morning with over 350 officers of the 3 Ministries under his charge - @MIB, @moefcc and HIPE, urges them to stay positive and work hard, even from home 1/n pic.twitter.com/q1suKNztsI— PIB India (@PIB_India) March 26, 2020
DPIIT sets up control room for 21-day lockdown
Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India has set up a control room, accessible on +91-11-23062487, to monitor real-time status of transportation, delivery of goods and manufacturing, delivery of essential commodities and difficulties being faced by industrial stakeholders.
E-grocers services resume partially
Gurugram-based online grocery platform Grofers has resumed taking orders in cities of Delhi, Gurugram, Faridabad, Lucknow, Kanpur and Bengaluru since 11 PM Wednesday. Bigbasket and Flipkart have also started accepting orders in certain parts of the country.
With all the support, we are working with local authorities and are focused on resuming supplies as swiftly as possible. The team is working to ensure that we get back on track quickly and can help as many as possible with their essentials. Always grateful for your support.— Grofers (@Grofers) March 26, 2020
Alibaba’s Jack Ma creates online hub for doctors and nurses globally
Covid-19 gets Alibaba founder Jack Ma to join Twitter. Alibaba has been at the forefront of deploying resources to fight the disease.
Knowledge is power! We launched an online platform for doctors and nurses around the world to exchange ideas, lessons and know-how to fight the virus. We welcome all hospitals to join Chinese hospitals on this open platform ???? https://t.co/WfQEbdmgym. One world, one fight!— Jack Ma (@JackMa) March 26, 2020
PM Modi to attend G20 meet virtually
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will attend the G20 conference on the Coronavirus pandemic on Thursday through video conferencing. The G20 is an international group for governments and central bank governors from 19 countries and the European Union.
K'taka authorities to issue passes to ecommerce, hyperlocal delivery personnel
In a bid to enable the smooth delivery of essentials via online platforms, the Karnataka police department said it will issue passes to delivery personnel of food delivery platforms such as Swiggy and Zomato, online pharmacies such as 1mg and Netmeds, and ecommerce platforms such as Amazon and Flipkart.
World Health Organization (WHO) briefs media, late Wednesday
Highlights: Governments should stop wasting precious time needed to fight the coronavirus even as much time has been wasted in preventing the pandemic. Lockdown Not Enough. Find, Isolate, Test, Treat.
Infection numbers see steady rise in India
Positive cases in India crossed the 600 mark as of Wednesday night. Currently stands at 649.
OYO says payments to vendors, partners may be delayed
SoftBank-backed hospitality chain OYO has told vendors that payment cycles may be disrupted on account of Covid-19 crisis, The Economic Times reported, citing a letter written by Ankit Agarwal, head of the company's procurement and supply chain.
Ola seeks govt sops to tide over Covid-19 crisis
Homegrown ride hailing firm Ola has sought a number of relief measures from the government including short-term, interest free loans to meet working capital needs and a delay in tax payments. Reuters reports. Ola operates a fleet of 2 million vehicles, most of which owned by drivers, the report said.
Netflix reduces video quality in more countries to handle surge
Netflix, the world’s most popular paid-TV network and the second-biggest driver of internet traffic in the world, is reducing video quality in India, Australia and some Latin American countries following conversations with internet service providers and governments, Bloomberg reported citing a source.
India likely to yes a $20 billion-plus stimulus package: Reuters
India is likely to agree to an economic stimulus package of more than Rs 1.5 trillion ($19.6 billion) to fight a downturn in the country that is currently locked down to stem the spread of coronavirus, Reuters reported citing sources on Wednesday evening. The stimulus plan could be as large as Rs 2.3 trillion, but final numbers were still in discussion, the report added.
Bike rentals Rapido extends services to medical community
Bike share mobility company Rapido will be operational with a minimal network of vehicles to support essential services, for hospitals, doctors, nurses and government staff, supporting life continuity, a company spokesperson told TechCircle.The company has offered a group insurance cover worth Rs 10 Lakhs for our captains, or driver partners to shield them from financial burden in case of hospitalization.
Stanza Living creates employee contingency fund
Student housing platform Stanza Living has set up an emergency contingency fund to cover the medical expenses of any employee who tests positive for Covid-19.
Urban Company launches fund for gig workers
New Delhi based home services startup Urban Company has partnered with Srinidhi foundation, a charitable trust, to launch a fund to support gig workers and independent contractors during the ongoing Covid-19 crisis. Such a move is expected to support its over 30,000 workers, spread across fields of financing, training, product or consumables support.
India ups its testing capability with additional centres
A total of 29 private laboratories are functioning in India to test Covid-19, out of which, 4 labs are in Delhi.
Latest: Total 29 private laboratories are functioning in India to test #COVID19. Out of which, 4 labs are in delhi, @lalpathlabs, @drdangslab, @HospitalsApollo Sarita Vihar @MaxHealthcare Saket. #coronavirusindia #COVID2019 #IndiaFightsCorona #Covid_19india #Covid19India pic.twitter.com/GSwi9BSoNb— The Health (@TheHealthToday) March 25, 2020
Delhi CM updates information on e-pass availability for movement during lockdown
Delhi Police statement on e-passes has asked to visit the jurisdictional district DCP office for getting the movement pass issued, carrying relevant supporting documents. The Movement Pass is meant for utmost essential duties. The same should not be misused. Any violation will be dealt strictly as per law.
No pass needed to nearby shops, says Delhi CM
Delhi CM lists 5 essential services; manufacturers, transporters, storage and retailers will be issued passes. Helpline for availing e-pass is 1031. No pass required for buying essentials from nearby shops, Kejriwal added.
Passenger trains suspension gets extended to April
The Railway ministry has extended cancellation of passenger train services till 24:00 IST of 14th April, 2020. Freight trains to continue operations.
Prasar Bharti mandates lower streaming bandwidth for OTTs
All companies from the digital industry have decided upon temporarily defaulting HD and ultra-HD streaming to SD content or offering only SD content, at bitrates no higher than 480p on cellular networks until April 14, government-owned public broadcasting agency Prasar Bharati has said.
MoHFW gives push to telemedicine with new guidelines
The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has announced guidelines for technology platforms offering telemedicine in consultation with NITI Aayog.
Snapdeal prioritises on essentials for deliveries
E-commerce platform Snapdeal is working regionwise to complete as many deliveries of essential goods to our customers as possible as per local operating conditions, a Snapdeal spokesperson told TechCircle.
Flipkart to resume services later Wednesday: CEO
E-tailer Flipkart will resume its grocery and essentials services later on Wednesday, CEO Kalyan Krishnamurthy said in a statement to TechCircle. The company has been assured of the safe and smooth passage of our supply chain and delivery executives by local law enforcement authorities. Flipkart’s website now reads “Paused. But Not For Long!”
Govts orders closure of ports
India’s Ministry of Shipping advised ports to consider the Covid-19 pandemic as grounds for invoking force majeure, a clause absolving companies from meeting their contractual commitments for reasons beyond their control.
Grocery delivery services come to a standstill
Grocery delivery services across ecommerce platforms have been severely affected due to supply shortage and precautionary actions from local authorities and police forces in the wake of a nationwide lockdown. Read: BigBasket, Grofers, Milkbasket crippled due to supply shortage, police action
Ola offers relief to driver partners
Cab-hailing platform Ola, owned by Bengaluru headquartered ANI Technologies, has waived off the daily lease rental fee for driver partners who are part of its car leasing programme. Read: Ola waives off daily car lease rental fee to support driver partners
Prakash Javdekar says ecommerce deliveries disrupted only in specific districts
“It is not true that all 700 districts are facing disruption of e-commerce deliveries for grocery. This is happening only in specific districts from where the reports are coming in,” cabinet minister Prakash Javadekar said.
US potentially global epicenter for Covid-19
The United States could become the global epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic with cases growing quickly, the World Health Organization said.
States to have separate helplines for Covid-19
Government has asked all states to start separate helplines for Covid-19 related problems. MHA to launch its own helpline Wednesday, as informed at cabinet minister Prakash Javadekar’s address to the media.
Delhi police meets ecommerce cos to resolve problems faced in operations
The Delhi Police has set up a platform for e-commerce websites where the companies can share problems they are facing. This comes after a meeting between police authorities in NCR region and online-based company representatives Zomato, Flipkart, Amazon, Bluedart, Wow Express, Swiggy, Grofers, Swiggy, BigBasket, Milkbasket, Dunzo, BigBazaar, Iffco Tokio. Curfew passes to be issued to all delivery persons by Thursday.
Arvind Kejriwal launches two helplines
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announces the launch of two helplines to allow people attached with essential services getting e-passes and for general people to lodge complaints related to any form of police harassment during the lockdown period. Helpline for lodging complaints: 011-23469536; helpline for e-passes will be created by afternoon-evening.
MHA asks private security agencies not to withhold staff salaries
The Ministry of Home Affairs has written to private security agency associations to adopt a humane approach and protect its workers and staff members from lay-offs. These agencies have been urged to treat their workers on duty and paid accordingly during the 21 day-lockdown.
PM Modi illustrates social distancing
Prime Minister Narendra Modi chairs a cabinet meeting at his residence where ministers are seen practising social distancing norms of being seated apart at least two meters form each other.
Capital and debt markets exempt from lockdown
Commercial and private establishments shall be closed down but the capital and debt market service shall be exempted from such closures, according to an order of the Ministry of Home Affairs and SEBI Notification.
Ecommerce major Flipkart suspends operations
Amazon suspends deliveries
Twitter creates corpus for journalists
“Right now, every journalist is a COVID-19 journalist,” microblogging giant Twitter said as it pledged to donate one million dollars to the Committee to Protect Journalists and the International Women’s Media Foundation. The move is seen to ensure these organizations can continue their work in the face of new economic strains and to directly support journalists.
MHA issues guidelines for 21-day lockdown
The Ministry of Home Affairs issued a list of guidelines to be followed by various ministries in the wake of the 21-day lockdown announced in the country. Read: Delivery of essential goods, mission critical IT services exempted from 21-day Covid-19 lockdown
Modi puts India under lockdown for 21 days
Prime Minister Narendra Modi announces nationwide lockdown from the midnight of Wednesday for 21 days, in an effort to reduce the spread of the Covid-19.