Fear of Third COVID-19 Wave Rises
Kerala showed the first signs of COVID-19 in India. Kerala has 24,296 new cases and 173 deaths out of the 37,593 new cases and 648 deaths reported across the country on August 25. In other words, nearly 65 percent of the cases came from Kerala. The fear of a third wave is legitimate given the festive season is upon us.
Studies have also shown that since the common cold is caused by a coronavirus, it is logical that the virus thrives in cold temperatures. Hence, the Indian Medical Association (IMA) on August 16 warned that social visits should be kept small to avoid overlap of bubbles. Festivals are the period when people generally throw every warning out of the room.
The fear of a third wave is rising, given that the country is slowly moving towards the long-drawn festival season. The Ministry of Home Affairs' National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM) has issued a dire warning that the third COVID-19 wave will peak in October.
States Slash VAT on Petrol
After Tamil Nadu, Puducherry has announced to cut value-added tax (VAT) on petrol by 3%. Petrol prices would be reduced by Rs 2.43 per litre as a result of the cut.
With petrol over Rs 100/litre, states are giving some relief by slashing the VAT on the fuel. Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman recently ruled out relief on the excise duty for petrol and diesel, saying payments instead of past subsidised fuel pose limitations. She said that the centre has given states an option of including petroleum products under the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime.
Despite all the arguments on fuel, Tamil Nadu was the first state that reduced a VAT cut on petrol after it reached sky-high rates. This move will bring in over a Rs 1,000 crore loss to the state.
Aviation Ministry Joins Hands With Adani Group
The Aviation Ministry signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Adani Group for providing services, including customs, immigration and security, at the Jaipur, Guwahati and Thiruvananthapuram airports.
In February 2019, Adani Group won the rights to six major airports of the country for the next 50 years. In fact, it became the country’s largest airport operator after taking a controlling stake in MIAL (Mumbai International Airport Ltd) earlier this year. This was the biggest move as Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport (CSMIA) in Mumbai is the second busiest in the country.
With acquiring airports steadily, Adani Group is looking at taking control over all the airports in India. This could be one of the key revenue generators for the company in the future. The aviation sector is currently reeling with losses, but post-pandemic, it’s expected to gather momentum.
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