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How governments are helping citizens?

Coronavirus Pandemic

Approx Read Time: 6 minutes
Coronavirus Pandemic
Coronavirus Pandemic | Government helping citizens

Context:

  • As India braces for the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic, the Uttar Pradesh government on Saturday announced aid of Rs 1,000 each in the bank accounts of 35 lakh labourers, and free rations for a month to 1.65 crore construction workers and daily wagers.
  • Earlier, Kerala had announced a Rs 20,000-crore package, including a Rs 2,000 crore loan to members of the poverty eradication and women’s empowerment scheme Kudumbashree, and another Rs 2,000 crore for the MNREGS over the next two months.
  • This provides the context to understand what governments all over the world are doing to help the citizens, workers and businesses affected by the coronavirus.
  • Worldwide, many governments have announced large spending programmes to help individuals and businesses stay afloat.

UK:

  • The government has announced that it will pay grants covering up to 80% of the salary of workers (up to maximum of £2,500 per month) if companies keep them on their payrolls, rather than lay them off.
  • The UK has unveiled financial measures including £330 billion in loans, £20 billion in other aid, and grants for retailers and pubs.
  • Statutory sick pay of £94.25 per week will be available from the first day of illness.

United States:

  • The White House is negotiating a package with Congress, which could exceed $2 trillion.
  • This could include direct payments to Americans under a certain income threshold, $200 billion in loans to distressed industry sectors, and $300 billion in forgivable bridge loans for small businesses.

Canada:

  • The government will provide up to $27 billion in direct support to workers and businesses, plus $55 billion to meet the liquidity needs of businesses and households through tax deferrals.

Italy:

  • The government has adopted an emergency decree worth €25 billion.
  • It also:
    1. Suspended loan and mortgage repayments for companies and families.
    2. Increased funds to help firms pay workers temporarily laid off.
    3. Provided € 3.5 billion to support the healthcare system.
    4. €10 billion to support families and workers.
  • It suspended all firing procedures that began after February 23.

France:

  • France has announced €45 billion in direct tax breaks and direct state payments in addition to €300 billion in loans.
  • The government stands has also positioned itself to nationalize large companies if needed.

Spain:

  • Spanish government announced €100 billion of loans and guarantees for companies in need of cash.
  • Spain has nationalized all hospitals.
  • The government will subsidize workers who have been temporarily laid off by giving them access to the benefits system.

Germany:

  • The government is expanding Kurzarbeitergeld, a scheme that provides subsidies to employees sent home during economic crises.

Netherlands:

  • The government will cover 90% of salaries lost because of reductions in work hours.

Denmark:

  • The government will shoulder 75% of wages (up to a limit) to prevent companies from carrying out layoffs.

Sweden:

  • The government will subsidize workers’ salaries. Employees will collect 90% of their wages, and will work reduced hours.

Taiwan:

  • On February 25 itself, Taiwan’s Parliament approved a $2 billion stimulus package. This will help small businesses and tour agencies, and provide tax cuts for tour bus drivers.

Japan:

  • The government has announced grants and loans to small and medium businesses. It is considering handing out 12,000 yen to each citizen.

Australia:

  • The government will pay $750 to all lower-income citizens on March 31. Small and medium-sized enterprises can apply for up to $25,000 to cover employees’ wages.

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