Need of the hour - GulfToday

Need of the hour


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The Indian lockdown impacting 1.3 billion people in cities, small towns and over 649, 481 villages, is the largest lockdown globally and in the history of the country (“India declares nationwide lockdown to fight COVID-19,” Mar. 25, Gulf Today).

The Indian government should galvanize to ensure that the people confined to their homes for three weeks, have regular supplies of food and drinking water on a regular basis. Moreover, essential services like electricity, water, telephones and internet should continue uninterrupted. If need be, the army should be deployed to manage essential services and ensure availability of basic foods to the people. The battle to fight the Coronavirus is huge, and every resource should be arrayed to save human lives. The spread of COVID-19 is causing major disruptions. Apart from being confined to their home, citizens are unable to travel since air travel, domestic and foreign is principally suspended in many countries.

In an amendment of the Income Tax Act, the Finance Bill had proposed to reduce the period of stay in India to 120 days from 182 days earlier for persons of Indian origin (PIOs), for them to be considered as non-resident Indians (NRIs). However, with the restrictions on travel, a great deal of uncertainty has dawned upon the non-resident Indians, who are unable to plan their movements. Hence, the government should postpone the provisions relating to the rules applicable for the eligibility of NRIs by one financial year.  This will provide relief to the thousands of hard-working Indians who work abroad and remit their savings to the country every year. Such sensitivities are the need of the hour.

Rajendra Aneja — Mumbai, India

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