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India’s unemployment rate remains high despite lifting of lockdown measures — RT Business News

The Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) has said the unemployment rate in the country was 24 percent for the week ending May 17, remaining unchanged from the previous week’s figure.

According to its report, however, the labor participation rate rose to 38.8 percent as industries started opening up gradually after the nationwide coronavirus lockdown.

“Halfway into the month of May, it appears that the unemployment rate is around the same level as it was in April, mostly higher by a whisker,” CMIE said, adding that the small relaxations in the lockdown since April 20 have not had any positive impact on the unemployment rate yet.

“A persistently high unemployment rate indicates that a large proportion of labor that is willing to work is unable to find jobs,” it said.




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Statistics showed that urban India has a higher unemployment rate – 27 percent compared to rural India’s 23 percent – and a lower labor participation rate of 34 percent, compared to 41 percent in rural India. 

According to CMIE, “Uncertainty continues to prevail over when the lockdown would be lifted, the nature of economic activity post lockdown, fears of the disease, fears of lack of medical facilities, fears of sudden loss of livelihood and the traumatic experience during the lockdown that is likely to keep labor away, within the safety of their homes in their villages or small towns.”

READ MORE: Nationwide lockdown could cost Indian economy over $4 BILLION A DAY

It said that restarting the economy after lifting the lockdown would therefore be a big challenge, as the single biggest proposition in the economic package announced by the government so far – easy credit to MSMEs (Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises) and street hawkers – is unlikely to make a big positive impact. 

Last week, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a new stimulus package of a combined Rs 20 lakh crore ($266 billion) – approximately ten percent of the country’s GDP.

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‘Interests of elites vs human rights’? UN warns against hasty lockdown lifting as global death toll tops 300,000 — RT World News

The global death toll in the Covid-19 pandemic has crossed 300,000, hitting another dark milestone as the United Nations voiced concerns that lockdown measures are being lifted too quickly, warning of a “second wave” of the virus.

Surpassing a total of 300,000 fatalities and nearing 4.5 million cases globally on Thursday, according to data gathered by Johns Hopkins University, the worldwide viral outbreak continues to expand across some 188 nations, infecting tens of thousands every day. The latest figures came on the heels of a new warning from the UN’s Human Rights High Commissioner, Michelle Bachelet, who said countries that repeal containment policies too fast risk a resurgence of the virus.

“If an affected country comes out of lock-down too hastily, there is a danger that a second wave, costing many more lives, will be triggered sooner and more destructively than would otherwise be the case,” Bachelet said.

If the re-opening of societies is mishandled, all the huge sacrifices made during the initial lock-down will have been for nothing.

Calling for the protection of “less privileged or marginalized communities,” the commissioner also said the virus will “rebound on everyone” if national responses are driven by “the interests of a particular elite,” adding that “politics or economics” should not be put ahead of human rights.




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Leading the world in both deaths and infections, the US offers an emblematic case of the tension Bachelet described, as lockdown measures imposed across dozens of states exact a major economic toll, prompting thousands of angry residents and business owners to take to the streets in protest.

The lockdowns have put over 36 million Americans out of work – compared to 15 million during the Great Depression of the 1930s. The stock market, too, has suffered amid the pandemic, seeing a precipitous fall from which it might take years to recover. But even as dozens of states move ahead with plans to reopen, some health experts have warned they are doing so prematurely, while politicians capitalize on blaming President Donald Trump for pushing states too hard.

A number of other major Covid-19 hotspots are also cautiously lifting their own quarantine measures – including France, Italy and Spain, some of Europe’s hardest-hit countries. India’s lockdown, covering the majority of its population of 1.3 billion, is also set to expire on May 17, barring another extension. While each nation faces the same virus, conditions vary dramatically from country to country, suggesting there is no one-size-fits-all answer to reopening.




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Lifting lockdowns may cause new Covad-19 spike, but now we know how to respond – WHO envoy to RT — RT World News

Countries should be able to swiftly identify and quarantine coronavirus hotspots instead of putting their whole societies on lockdown, but people must accept this ‘new reality’ for it to work, said WHO’s envoy to Russia.

“I do believe that there might be a surge [in Covid-19 cases], but we’ll be able to respond to it much quicker, having all the experience that we’ve got, unfortunately, over the last four months,” Dr Melita Vujnovic, who represents the World Health Organization in Russia, told RT when asked about the impact of the gradual lifting of lockdowns – that has begun in many countries – on the pandemic.

“It’s still uncharted territory,” but there’s a way to “help curb the epidemic and still allow for socio-economic life that the world needs,” she pointed out. However, “vigilance is needed” as the virus – which has already infected 4.29 million people and killed more than 293,000 around the globe – isn’t going away, and remains highly contagious.

Nations must develop “a capacity to quickly detect new cases, to quickly identify all the contacts, test them and quarantine them – instead of going for full lockdowns,” the health expert added.

“Unfortunately, we believe that it’s going to be a sort of a mode of operation until herd immunity is reached, probably through a vaccine that we still have to wait for.”

But with the right explanation, people will be able to accept the “new reality” and adapt to it, Vujnovic said. “Hygiene will get a new impetus” and most will realize that the way to behave is by “not being heroes by going sick to work… but staying isolated and making sure that we don’t infect others.”

I do believe in people. People are very strong. They have adapted. They’ve managed to overcome cholera, plague, smallpox and various other diseases.




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As for the coronavirus outbreak in Russia, there’s a “reason for optimism,” the WHO representative said. The country has recorded 242,271 cases and 2,212 Covid-19-related deaths, but a decrease in the average growth rate of the number of infected has been seen for over a week now, and the “extremely high” number of tests being carried out gives us grounds to believe that “we’re heading the right way.”

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End of Covid-19 lockdown in sight as Merkel govt lets German states decide on lifting restrictions – report — RT World News

Berlin will reportedly put Germany’s 16 states in charge of relaxing lockdown measures, allowing shops to open up, students to return to school, and the Bundesliga to start again – as long as the epidemic doesn’t make a comeback.

Heads of German states will be in charge of emerging from the weeks-long quarantine under a new plan which Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government has drafted ahead of high-level talks on the issue, DPA news agency reported citing a copy of the document.

Key points of the draft provide a glimmer of hope for Europe’s wealthiest nation, still suffering from the coronavirus shutdown. It says that all businesses, regardless of their size, could resume services for their customers, who will have to remain 1.5m apart – like anywhere else in public.

Students will be allowed to return to school before the summer break – again, as long as the schools and universities ensure there is no risk of catching the contagion. People in nursing homes could also receive visitors again, on condition there are no active Covid-19 cases in their facilities.

Finally, football clubs are also expected to receive permission to resume their matches in the second half of May, but they will have to play without fans, as the ban on large public events – including festivals and games – has been extended until late August. Still, children and non-professional athletes could start practicing outdoor sports soon.

The plan, however, includes emergency brakes if the epidemic surges beyond a certain threshold. Should the number of infections rise within a week above 50 per 100,000 residents in any city or region, local governments will have to make a U-turn and bring the restrictions back immediately.

Germany has reported over 167,000 Covid-19 cases, lagging behind the US, Spain, Italy, the UK, and France. Its death rate remains markedly lower than in the aforementioned nations, standing at almost 7,000.




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