With 85,970 COVID cases, India overtakes China; Govt announces structural reforms in Mining, Defence

New Delhi: With 85,970 positive cases of Novel Coronavirus, India on Saturday surpassed the tally of China- the epicenter of the pandemic, and became the 11th worst-affected country worldwide, while the government announced structural reforms in major areas to bring “self-reliance” and tide over the economic fallout.
As per the latest update from the Health Ministry, India added 3,970 cases and 103 deaths in the past 24 hours. The death toll now stands at 2,753 or 3.2 per cent.
However, on the brighter side, 2,233 more patients recovered, taking the total number of recoveries to 30,153. The recovery rate has improved to 35.05 per cent, meaning that more than one third of patients were able to overcome the infection.
Reforms
As part of Rs 20 lakh crore package to transform India into a self-reliant nation, Union Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced structural reforms in coal, mining, defence, air space management, power, social infrastructure, space and atomic energy sectors.
Major highlights of the reforms were the end of government monopoly in the coal sector to allow commercial mining and increase of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) limit in defence manufacturing from 49 per cent to 74 per cent under the automatic route.
The government would also allow private players to access the space sector, including ISRO’s facilities, by providing a level-playing field in satellites, launches and space-based services, Ms Sitharaman said.
It will boost private sector investments in social-infrastructure projects, like hospitals. The total outlay for this has been pegged at Rs 8,100 crore, she said further.
Agony
In yet another tragic incident, highlighting the agony of stranded, at least 25 migrant workers were killed, while 33 were injured, 15 of them critically, when two trucks collided at Auraiya in Uttar Pradesh. Both the trucks were ferrying migrants from Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal to Delhi.
President Ram Nath Kovid, Vice-President Venkaiah Nadu and Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed grief over the misshaping. UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath announced ex-gratia of Rs two lakh each to the family of the deceased and Rs 50,000 each for the injured.
The Ministry of Home Affairs again wrote to all States and Union Territories to ensure that migrant workers do not have to walk back home. The Indian Railways is running more than 100 ‘Shramik’ special trains per day and ready to arrange additional trains, as per requirement, it said.
To provide social assistance to the poor and vulnerable households, the Government of India and the World Bank signed a 750 million dollars grant. One billion dollar support was announced last month for India’s health sector.
Meanwhile, across states, Maharashtra remained on top, bearing the maximum burden of cases as the tally surged to 29,100 after recording 1,576 new cases. The death toll stood at 1,068, after 49 more patients succumbed.
The tally in Tamil Nadu crossed the 10,000-mark after registering 434 cases, making it the second worst-affected state. The total number of infections stood at 10,108, while fatalities were at 71, including five in the past 24 hours.
Gujarat recorded 340 fresh cases and 20 more deaths, bringing the tally to 9,931 while death toll to 606.
With another significant spike of 438 cases in the national capital, the tally reached 9,333, The death toll also surged to 129 with six fresh casualties.
Rajasthan’s tally rose to 4,725 after recording 193 more cases. The fatalities remained at 125.