Corona Virus Current Affairs - 2020

World Bank: 11 million to enter poverty in Pacific and East Asia

On March 31, 2020, the World Bank announced that around 11 million are to enter poverty in Pacific and East Asia due to the spread of COVID-19. The virus has affected more than 780,000 and has so far killed more than 37,000.

Highlights

According to the World Bank, around 35 million people in Pacific and Asia will escape poverty. This includes 25 million in China alone. The bank has projected the growth in the region to be slow and around 2.1%. In 2019, the bank had estimated the growth of the region as 5.8%.

The bank has projected growth rate of China as 2.3%. Earlier, in 2019, it had predicted China’s growth rate as 6.1%.

Suggestions

The bank recommends more investments in the health sector. It suggests for macroeconomic policies and integrated containment of the virus. The World Bank also recommends targeted fiscal measures such as health care and subsidies for sick pay. This will make sure the temporary deprivation is not converted into long term human capital losses.

GoI: Interest Rates on Small Savings Schemes lowered

On March 31, 2020, the Government of India lowered interest rates of several small savings scheme facing Economic challenges created by the threat of COVID-19 virus.

Highlights

The interest rates of the schemes like Sukanya Samriddhi, Kisan Vikas Patra and Pubilc Provident Funds were reduced. The changes were introduced for Q1 of the fiscal year 2020-21. They are as follows

Sukanya Samriddhi

Rate of interest for Sukanya Samriddhi Account Scheme has been reduced from 8.4 to 7.6%. The scheme targets girl child and her parents. It encourages the parents to build fund for future education and marriage expenses of their girl child.

Public Provident Fund

Interest rate for Public Provident Fund reduced from 7.9 to 7.1%. It is savings-cum-tax saving scheme introduced in 1968 by the National Savings Institute operating under Ministry of Finance. The main aim of the scheme is to increase small savings offering returns based on the investments made with the savings deposited.

National Savings Certificate

Interest rate for National Savings Certificate 7.9 to 6.8%. It is a part of the postal savings system. It is a savings bond scheme launched for income tax savings and small savings.

Kisan Vikas Patra

Interest rate for Kisan Vikas Patra reduced from 7.6% to 6.9%. The KVP will mature in 124 months instead of 113 months earlier. It is a saving certificate scheme that was launched by India Post in 1988.

Other Schemes

  • Rate of interest for the Senior Citizen Savings Scheme reduced to 7.4 from 8.6%
  • Rate of interest for the monthly income scheme lowered to 6.6% from 7.6%
  • For five-year recurring deposit, the interest has been reduced from 7.2 to 5.8%.
  • For five-year time-deposit, it has been brought down from 7.7% to 6.7%
  • For three-years, two-years and one-year time deposits, the interest rate has been cut from 6.9 to 5.5%
  • Interest on savings deposit stays unchanged at 4%.