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COVID19

COVID-19: All Trains Across India Cancelled Till March 31

A bare minimum level of suburban trains and Kolkata Metro rail services will continue till midnight.

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NEW DELHI: In an unprecedented move, the railways on Sunday announced the suspension of all its passenger services from March 22 midnight to March 31 midnight and said only goods trains will run during the said period.

Railways Minister Piyush Goel announced the decision today to contain the COVID – 19 outbreak.

“As per the latest decision in the fight against coronavirus, it has been decided that metro service will remain completely closed till March 31,” the DMRC announced in a statement.


“The move is aimed at controlling the spread of coronavirus by ensuring social distancing and encouraging people to stay at home for the time being,” it added.

A bare minimum level of suburban trains and Kolkata Metro rail services will continue till midnight.

However, trains that had already commenced their journey, prior to 4.00 am on March 22 will run up to their destinations, the railways said. “Adequate arrangements shall be made for the passengers, who have commenced their journey during the travel and at their destinations,” the Railways statement added.


The railways said to ensure essential supplies in parts of the country, movement of goods trains will continue. For those who have already booked train tickets, the Railways will provide a full refund for all cancelled trains till March 21. “Adequate arrangements shall be made to facilitate hassle-free refund to passengers affected by train cancellations,” the Railways statement said.

The Railways Ministry has also offered full refunds to all passengers affected by train cancellations up to March 21.

The Railways had earlier decided to cancel all passenger trains on today to support the Janta Curfew call given by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The decision was taken in view of the fact that the demand for rail travel would be vastly reduced during the Janta Curfew, said Ministry of Railways had said.

“No train except goods trains will run till 2400 hrs of March 31. However, a bare minimum of suburban services and the Kolkata Metro Rail service will continue to run till 2400 hours of March 22. Thereafter, these services will also be stopped till 2400 hours of March 31,” a spokesperson of the Indian Railways said.

The death toll due to the novel coronavirus in the country rose to seven on Sunday with the Union Health Ministry confirming the death of a second COVID-19 patient in Maharashtra. Another coronavirus positive patient died in Patna. The number of confirmed coronavirus cases has increased to 354 in India.


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COVID19

COVID-19: 21,000 Relief Camps Set Up In States, UTs To Feed Migrants, Poor

The relief camps are providing shelter to the poor, destitute and stranded migrant workers.

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NEW DELHI: Joint Secretary in the Home Ministry Punya Salila Shrivastav said, over 21 thousand relief camps set up in various States and Union Territories to provide shelter to over 6 lakh people during the lockdown in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Briefing media in New Delhi yesterday, she said that facilities have been set up to feed over 23 lakh people and these are available to the poor, stranded migrant workers, quarantined workers and other needy persons.

She also said that the Government is using cluster containment strategies and doing rigorous contact tracing in COVID 19 hotspots to check the virus from further spreading.


She said the ministry was continuously monitoring the ongoing lockdown situation in coordination with the states and union territories and the situation till now has been satisfactory.

The essential supplies system is also running satisfactorily, she said, adding interstate cargo movement is also going on smoothly.

The announcement of a complete lockdown by Prime Minister Narendra Modi last Tuesday had left thousands of migrants stranded. The lockdown over the deadly coronavirus brought economic activities to a grinding halt in the country in a bid to check the spread of the virus.


This forced labourers and daily wagers to leave large cities, and embark on a journey on foot to their native villages in the absence of any form of transport.

With the mass exodus threatening to derail the purpose of the lockdown, several states sprung into action and ensured that the Centre’s directives of providing food and shelter are complied with.

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COVID19

COVID-19: Understanding Psycho-Social Issues Among Migrants Amid Coronavirus

Many of them are however stuck at borders, including state, district and at national border areas.

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Migrants are less familiar in their new environment in which they temporarily live. They are prone to various social, psychological and emotional trauma in such situations, emanating from fear of neglect by the local community and concerns about wellbeing and safety of their families waiting in their native places.

Migrants are forced to leave their native places in search of better opportunities and earnings, sometimes leaving behind their families. In many instances, the families in native places depend partially or entirely on the money sent by the migrant earning members of the family.

During an outbreak of communicable diseases, such a COVID-19, and the restrictions imposed on routine activities as part of social distancing norms to prevent the spread of the disease, scores of migrant workers tend to move back to their native places.


During the prevailing COVID pandemic also, many migrant workers used all possible means to reach their destinations.

Many of them are however stuck at borders, including state, district and at national border areas.

These are the most marginalized sections of the society who are dependent on daily wages for their living, and in times of such distress need sympathy and understanding of the society.

Immediate concerns faced by such migrant workers relate to food, shelter, healthcare, fear of getting infected or spreading the infection, loss of wages, concerns about the family, anxiety and fear.


Sometimes, they also face harassment and negative reactions of the local community.

All this calls for strong social protection.

As an immediate response, measures to be taken should include, ensuring community shelters and community kitchens, making other relief material available, emphasising on the need for social distancing, identification of suspected cases of infection and adherence to protocols for management of such cases, putting up mechanisms to enable them to reach to the family members through telephone, video calls etc. and ensuring their physical safety.

Migrant workers faced with the situation of spending a few days in temporary shelters, which may be quarantine centres, while trying to reach to their native places, are filled with anxieties and fears stemming from various concerns, and are in need of psycho-social support.

As part of such support, the following measures can be adopted :

  • Treat everyone migrant worker with dignity, respect, empathy and compassion
  • Listen to their concerns patiently and understand their problems
  • Recognise specific and varied needs for each person/family. There is no generalisation.
  • Help them to acknowledge that this is an unusual situation of uncertainty and reassure them that the situation is transient and not going to last long. Normal life is going to resume soon.
  • Be prepared with all the information about possible sources of help. Inform them about the support being extended by Central Government, State Governments/ NGOs/ health care systems etc.
  • Emphasise on the importance of their staying in their present location and how mass movement could greatly and adversely affect all efforts to contain the virus.
  • Make them realise their importance in the community and appreciate their contributions to society.
  • Remind them that they have made their place with their own efforts, acquired the trust of their employer, sent remittances to their families and therefore deserve all respect.
  • Reassure that even if their employer fails them, local administration and charitable institutions would extend all possible help.
  • Out of desperation, many may react in a manner which may appear insulting. Try to understand their issues and be patient.
  • If somebody is afraid of getting affected, tell them that the condition is curable, and that most recover from it.
  • Remind them that it is safer for their families if they themselves stay away from them.
  • Instead of reflecting any mercy, seek their support in the spirit of winning over the situation together.
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COVID19

FM Attends 2nd Extraordinary G20 Finance Ministers And Central Bank Governors Virtual Meeting

FM shared with her G20 counterparts the efforts being made by India to deal with COVID-19 crisis.

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NEW DELHI: Union Minister for Finance & Corporate Affairs, Nirmala Sitharaman participated in the 2nd Extraordinary G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors (FMCBG) meeting under the Saudi Arabian Presidency today, to discuss the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on the global economy and coordinate efforts in response to this global challenge.

Finance Minister appreciated the Saudi Presidency for organizing these meetings which provide an opportunity to all G20 members to not only share their individual experiences but also to work in better coordination.

G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors during the 1st Extraordinary Virtual G20 FMCBG Meeting held on March 23, 2020, had decided to meet virtually on a regular basis to continue discussions on the evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic, including its impact on markets and economic conditions and take further actions to support the economy during and after this phase.


This meeting was held to follow up on the discussion of the 1st virtual meeting as well as to discuss the follow-up in line with the statement made by G20 Leaders during the G20 Virtual Leaders Summit held on March 26, 2020.

During the summit, the Leaders had tasked G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors to deliver a G20 Action Plan in Response to COVID-19, in close cooperation with relevant international organizations (IOs).

Smt Sitaraman supported the proposed G20 Action Plan and emphasized that such an exercise would provide an opportunity for immense cross-learning and critical insights.


Referring to the G20 Leaders statement, regarding regulatory and supervisory measures, she emphasised the importance of ensuring that the financial system continues to support and quickly revive the economy

Finance Minister made specific interventions on reviewing and enhancing the IMF toolkit and further expanding the swap line network.

She suggested that the IMF can develop innovative and ingenious methods to meet COVID-19 related financing requirements given that policy space is severely constrained in most countries in these unprecedented circumstances.

On the issue of swap arrangements, FM Sitharaman encouraged the IMF 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. She also emphasized upon the need to allow flexibility for countries to engage in new lines of bilateral swap arrangements as per requirements.

During her intervention, FM Sitharaman also briefly shared with her G20 counterparts the efforts being made by Government of India to deal with COVID-19 crisis, including the recently announced relief package of INR 1.7 Trillion for the poor, the emergency health fund of INR 150 Billion, along with several other monetary, fiscal and regulatory measures taken to address the economic and social concerns of those most impacted by the crisis.


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