On Thursday, BJP leader and Rajya Sabha MP Subramanian Swamy called upon the Narendra Modi government to reduce the Aviation Turbine Fuel (ATF) taxes, which he contended were the highest in the world. He cited this as a solution to counter the possibility of Indian private airlines going bankrupt as a result of the novel Coronavirus outbreak and the economic slowdown. Usually constituting approximately 40% of an airline’s operating cost, the ATF has not been brought under the Goods and Services Tax yet.
The coronavirus and the economic tailspin is about to drive Indian airline private companies into bankruptcy. Hence Namo Govt should reduce Airline Turbine Fuel taxes which are the world highest today— Subramanian Swamy (@Swamy39) March 12, 2020
First detected in Wuhan in December 2019, COVID-19- the novel Coronavirus has affected nearly 120 countries in the world. Presently, there are over 1,20,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 which has led to the death of at least 4,000 people. As there is no vaccine or specific antiviral medicine to deal to treat COVID-19, countries have been grappling with all possible mechanisms to contain its scope. So far, China, South Korea, Italy, and Iran have witnessed the most number of confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus.
On Wednesday, the World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 outbreak as a pandemic. Meanwhile, India has suspended all visas, barring for a few categories such as diplomatic and employment apart from keeping in abeyance the visa-free travel facility to OCI cardholders till April 15. Moreover, the Centre has “strongly advised” Indians to avoid all non-essential travel abroad.
Earlier in the day, India's Health Ministry observed that there were 73 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country, including 56 Indians and 17 foreigners. Lav Aggarwal- Joint Secretary, Union Health Ministry revealed that the Centre had evacuated 948 individuals comprising Indians as well as people belonging to countries such as the US, China, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. He stressed that there was no need to wear a mask if the proper social distance is maintained.
Union Health Ministry: So far, the Government of India has evacuated 900 Indian citizens along with 48 belonging to other nations like Maldives, Myanmar, Bangladesh, China, US, Madagascar, Sri Lanka, Nepal, South Africa, and Peru. #CoronaVirus https://t.co/T2WyKLGRpB— ANI (@ANI) March 12, 2020
Lav Aggarwal, Joint Secretary, Union Health Ministry: Mask is not always necessary, if a person maintains effective social distance, mask is not needed. There is no need to panic. #Coronavirus pic.twitter.com/ri636r3uUT— ANI (@ANI) March 12, 2020