Nationwide lockdown extended till May 31 to contain COVID-19 spread: NDMA
The ongoing countrywide lockdown has been extended till May 31, the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) announced on Sunday.
In an order, the NDMA said lockdown measures need to be implemented for a further period of 14 days in the country to contain the spread of COVID-19.
The death toll due to COVID-19 rose to 2,872 and the number of total positive cases climbed to 90,927 on Sunday morning, according to the Union Health Ministry.
The NDMA, in exercise of powers under Section 6 (2) (i) of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, hereby directs the ministries and departments of the Government of India, state governments and state authorities to continue the lockdown measures up to May 31, NDMA member secretary GVV Sarma said.
The authority further directs the National Executive Committee, headed by the Union Home Secretary, to issue modifications in the guidelines as necessary, keeping in view the need to open up economic activities while containing the spread of COVID-19, the order said.
Seeking to provide relief for the coronavirus pandemic-hit economy, the government will provide various relaxations under the insolvency law, including suspending fresh proceedings for up to one year, exempting COVID-19-related debt and coming out with a special framework for MSMEs.
The measures were announced by Finance and Corporate Affairs Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Sunday as part of the fifth and final tranche of the Rs 20-lakh crore stimulus package unveiled to boost the economy ravaged by the pandemic and subsequent lockdown.
In a significant move that is expected to provide relief for various entities, the government has decided to suspend fresh initiation of insolvency proceedings up to one year depending upon the pandemic situation.
"After all, when lockdown gets lifted immediately, you are not sure how much of the businesses will get restored... No fresh insolvency proceedings will be initiated for up to one year," she said at a press meet here.
Under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC), which provides for a time-bound and market-linked resolution of stressed assets, an entity can seek insolvency proceedings against a company even if the default is only one day. This is subject to the minimum threshold of Rs 1 crore. Earlier, the threshold was Rs 1 lakh.
Sitharaman said hiking of the minimum threshold largely insulates micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).
The lockdown was first announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on March 24 for 21 days with effect from March 25. It was then extended till May 3 and again till May 17.