India - Partner In Growth
Greetings from the Embassy of India in Washington DC!
Welcome to the  April 2, 2020, edition of our weekly newsletter, bringing you important policy and high-impact news about India.
I hope you find it useful.
-- Shambhu Hakki, First Secretary (Political & Press, Information and Culture)
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KEY POLICY DECISIONS
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has announced Rs 1.70 Lakh Crore ($23 billion) relief package under Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana for the poor to help them fight the battle against Corona Virus. Additionally, last date for income tax returns for FY 18-19 has been extended to 30th June, 2020 from 31st March, 2020. Other responses include free withdrawal of cash using debit card from any other banks' ATM for 3 months, transfer of Rs 500 per month to 20 crore women Jan Dhan account holders for next three months etc. Notably, Government to offer insurance cover of Rs 50 Lakh per health worker fighting COVID-19 under Insurance Scheme.



Body suits, sanitizers, and masks: India's Defence Research and Development Organisation Fights Covid-19

India's Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is gearing up to fight Covid-19. DRDO has developed a bodysuit that  can shield doctors, medical staff, sanitation workers and others from the dangers of Covid-19. Already, DRDO has deployed critical care ventilators, hand sanitiser, and five layer N99 masks with two layers of nano mesh. 



India has called for working towards creating a global framework for further enhancing affordable access to medicines for fighting pandemics and facilitating easier movement of health professionals across national borders. At the meeting of the Trade and Investment Ministers of the G20 countries, Minister of Commerce and Industry Shri Piyush Goyal said that despite many challenges, India has been a dependable and affordable source of efficacious and high quality medical and pharma products to nearly 190 countries around the world. "We are confident that with improved regulatory and R&D cooperation, India can further enhance its capabilities to serve the world in crisis like this." he said.



Invest India launches Business Immunity Platform to help businesses and investors get real-time updates on India's response to COVID-19

Invest India, India's national Investment Promotion & Facilitation Agency, under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry has launched The Invest India Business Immunity Platform. The platform, hosted on the Invest India website, is designed as a comprehensive resource to help businesses and investors get real-time updates on India's active response to COVID-19 (Coronavirus). The Business Immunity Platform (BIP) is the active platform for business issue redressal, operating 24/7, with a team of dedicated sector experts and responding to queries at the earliest. Invest India has also announced a partnership with SIDBI (Small Industries Development Bank of India) for responding and resolving queries for MSMEs.




The Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, with an aim to extend support to the foreign tourists who are stranded in India, has come up with a portal to disseminate information regarding the services that can be availed by foreign tourists who are stuck far away from their home land. The portal is titled 'Stranded in India' and aims to act as a support network for foreign tourists stuck in various parts of the country. The portal is available on www.strandedinindia.com.




PM interacts with Heads of India's Embassies and High Commissions via video-conferencing

Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi held a videoconference with the Heads of all of India's Embassies and High Commissions worldwide to discuss responses to the global COVID-19 pandemic. Prime Minister noted that extraordinary times require extraordinary solutions, which was why even in this globalized era, most of the world had quarantined itself. This was an unavoidable step taken to fight this pandemic, but it was also hugely consequential, as the closure of the globalized system has had an extensive and far-reaching impact upon the international transport system, financial markets and the global economy



HIGH-IMPACT NEWS
India to Begin Manufacturing New Covid-19 Test Kits Within Two Months

India will begin manufacturing new serological diagnostic testing kits within the next two months as many advances have been made after the virus was isolated by research agencies. Indian Council of Medical research's chief epidemiologist said once the virus has been isolated, it helps taking research forward for developing diagnostic kits, medicines and vaccines.


FDA Approves Anti-Malarial Drugs Chloroquine And Hydroxychloroquine For Emergency Coronavirus Treatment