Tag Archives: #COVID-19

Indian pharma well placed to develop.

Even before the break of Covid-19 outbreak,India was the largest producer of vaccines in the World.”Pharma vision 2020 ” took speed after the acceptance of Covid-19 by India.The goal is to become a World leader by end to end production of ‘Pharmaceutical’ products.The importance of Indian vaccine is that much that United State requested India to export ‘HydroxyChloroquine’ which is believed have some success in combatting Covid-19.This has shown the World that India has power and relevance in producing best medicines.Science ministry gave a statement that by August 15 would be releasing a novel corona virus vaccine.Six Indian companies are working day and night on Vividh -19 vaccine.Along with two Indian vaccines, Covaxin and ZyCov-D, world over 11 out of 140 vaccines candidates are in human trial said,the ministry.India a leading manufacturer of vaccines and generic medicines, is expected to play a key role in this race.Dozen of vaccines around the corner of the World are being in progress.

HERE IS WHY THE PANDEMIC IS GETTING MORE DIFFICULT TO PREDICT AND TRACK

Predictions on covid-19 are growing extremely complicated as the number of cases continues to increase across regions as India entered Unlock 2.0 on Wednesday, the government and scientists have reported.

The pandemic curve has been relatively confined and is starting to flatten since the strict 70-day shutdown implemented on 25 March, yet legislators remain mindful of the resulting increase in cases. States like Kerala succeeded in taking down the count of cases during the lockout but the easing of constraints contributed to a second surge. The condition is such that any covid-19 pandemic forecast may be inaccurate, state health experts said.

“The infection was imported and located in urban areas with a concentration in metros in the first two months, but has now moved to peripheral districts and small cities. This movement has given an impression that cases are decreasing in some areas, while in others there is a surge in cases. However, this is about the movement of infections and population,” said Dr Jugal Kishore, professor and head, department of community medicine, Safdarjung Hospital.

Delhi has the highest case load among cities with more than 87,000 cases. “We have increased testing in Delhi. Initially, on testing 100 people, around 31 were found to be positive and today only 13 out of 100 people were found to be positive. These things show that the situation is under control and is not as terrible as it was one month back. However, we have to be cautious,” said chief minister Arvind Kejriwal.

Over the past week, Delhi has been reporting more than 2,000 cases daily. “Delhi’s fixed population is showing less cases for 3-4 days, but new cases will continue because a large number of the Delhi population is floating,” said Kishore.

In all major states affected with covid-19 , Karnataka has also seen a significant increase since it opened its frontiers. In the last two weeks, however, the number of local infections has also increased, indicating the possibility of community spread. The number of cases has risen dramatically in Bengaluru, raising concerns of yet another lockout in the state capital.

Karnataka has now crossed the 15,000 covid-19 case threshold ahead of expectations, and by mid-August at least 25,000 cases are now expected. The state government has asked doctors to be prepared mentally to continue the struggle for another six months.

Health experts said the number of cases will increase because of the onset of the monsoon, which is also a season for influenza. “There will be a greater number of covid-19 cases as the influenza season will come. There will be a double problem. The cases that we are seeing now are reservoirs of the lockdown. Soon after the movement started, the cases also started increasing. We will see a further increase. The disease continues to be unpredictable,” said Lalit Kant, a scientist and former head of epidemiology and communicable diseases at ICMR.

India’s recovery rate improved to 59.43%. “During the last 24 hours, 13,157 covid-19 patients have been cured, taking the cumulative figure to 357,612. Presently, there are 226,555 active cases and all are under medical supervision,” the Union health ministry said. As on Wednesday, India recorded 601,952 covid-19 cases, with 17,785 deaths.

Source:https://www.livemint.com/news/india/pandemic-s-spread-is-getting-tricky-to-predict-says-govt-11593656412642.html

INVESTORS ARE WARMING UP TO A POSSIBLE JOE BIDEN VICTORY

Investors are preparing ahead for expected upcoming market turmoil ahead of the US presidential election in November, with some shifting stock portfolios and selling the dollar, as Democratic party contender Joe Biden maintains a considerable lead in opinion polls against President Donald Trump.

During the four months leading up to the Nov. 3 elections, much will shift, and several analysts are concentrated about how a coronavirus outbreak could threaten a fragile U.S. economic rebound.

Nonetheless, several fund investors are now planning for the prospect of a win for Biden by betting against the currency and slashing their stakes in US stocks.

“The president’s poll numbers have fallen off a cliff,” said Phil Orlando, chief equity market strategist at Federated Hermes. “The market is looking at this and saying, ‘If the election were held today Biden would win.'”

The new survey by Reuters / Ipsos shows Biden leading Trump among eligible voters by 8 percentage points. Trump’s support for treating the coronavirus pandemic has collapsed.

A win for Biden-as well as a potential House and Senate Democratic sweep-may challenge initiatives supported by Trump and widely preferred by Wall Street, including lower corporate tax levels and fewer restrictions, analysts said.

Despite the sharp coronavirus-fueled dip, since Trump took office, the S&P 500 is up about 37 per cent. Under the first term of Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, the index rose 85 per cent and 79 per cent respectively.

According to Amundi Pioneer Asset Management, under Biden, the corporate tax rate is expected to climb to 28 percent, replacing half of Trump’s and Republican-led Congress reduction in late 2017.

That could rising S&P 500 earnings by around $20 a share, push buyers out of U.S. stocks and damage the dollar, said Paresh Upadhyaya, fund manager at the firm that bets against the greenback.

The fund manager at Laffer Tengler Investments, Arthur Laffer Jr., unwounded his dollar stake last week, predicting that a Biden win could contribute to stronger development and strain on the U.S. currency. Laffer Jr ‘s father has been counseling Trump on economic concerns.

Gross betting in derivative contracts against the U.S. dollar just reached a two year peak.

In a report to clients, analysts at UBS Global Wealth Management said possible new legislation by a Democratic government may be a headwind for oil and financial stocks.

Recently, the BlackRock Investment Institute has cut its ratings on U.S. equities to neutral over concerns of fading fiscal stimulus and uncertainty about elections.

“The two parties are as far apart on policy as they have ever been, making the result consequential for markets,” BlackRock’s analysts said in a note.

Orlando of Federated Hermes has boosted his cash allowance as the cases of coronavirus have risen and the vote numbers of Trump have dropped. He expects to lower shares in dividend-paying securities if Trump’s fall in the polls tends to boost questions about higher dividend taxation and capital gains.

Most investors remain unconvinced that a Biden win or Democratic sweep will bode poorly for stocks, especially because the U.S. economy is supposed to be bolstered by the Federal Reserve if appropriate.

As long as (stimulus) stays constant … you will continue to have some ballast in terms of asset prices,” said Sam Hendel, president at Levin Easterly Partners.

Source:https://www.livemint.com/news/world/investors-are-waking-up-to-a-possible-joe-biden-victory-in-us-presidential-election-11593661949306.html

US SUPPORTS INDIA’S BANNING OF CHINESE APPS

India’s ban on 59 Chinese applications, including the famous TikTok, has been widely noted in the US, including by some influential lawmakers, who have urged the US government to follow suit as the short video-sharing app is believed to pose a major security risk to the region.

India blocked 59 Chinese-linked apps Monday, including TikTok and UC Browser, saying they were harmful to the country’s sovereignty, dignity and security.

The prohibition, which comes against the context of India’s current stand-off with Chinese troops along the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh, is also relevant to WeChat and Bigo Live.

“India bans TikTok and dozens of other Chinese apps in the wake of the deadly clash,” powerful Republican Senator John Cornyn said in a tweet as he tagged a news report in The Washington Post.

Republican Congressman Rick Crawford tweeted that “TikTok must go and it should have been gone yesterday.”

Last week, US National Security Advisor, Robert O’Brien had alleged that the Chinese Government is using TikTok for its own purposes.

“On TikTok, a Chinese-owned social media platform with over 40 million American users, probably a lot of your kids, and younger colleagues, accounts criticising the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) and Beijing’s policies are routinely removed or deleted,” O’Brien said in his public remarks.

At least two proposals in the U.S. Senate are pending to prohibit federal government employees from using TikTok on their mobile phones, suggesting such a sentiment could build steam in the U.S. following the move by India.

“Would that be the same Chinese TikTok that was used to tank attendance at the Tulsa Rally?” tweeted Peter Navarro, Assistant to the US President for Trade and Manufacturing Policy, as he tagged a news report from The New York Times on India’s decision to ban these Chinese social media apps.

Fox News anchor Laura Ingraham urged the US to do the same. “LEADING THE WAY, WHERE’S THE U.S.? India bans dozens of Chinese apps including TikTok” she said in a tweet.

Author Gordon Chang said that India just banned 59 Chinese apps, including TikTok. “Why can’t the US do the same?” he asked.

According to Forbes, now with developers launching the latest clipboard alert in the beta edition of iOS 14, TikTok seems to have been caught abusing the clipboard in a rather remarkable manner.

“So it seems that TikTok didn’t stop this invasive practice back in April as promised after all,” it said.

An amendment added to the “Moving Forward Act” being considered this week in the US House of Representatives forbids Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers using the TikTok in smartphone device.

In April, Republican Senator Joshua David Hawley, passed a bill banning federal workers from accessing the TikTok social network camera platform on government-issued computers.

“This is a necessary step to protect the security of the US,” he said. A similar legislation has been introduced in the House of Representatives by Congressman Ken Buck.

“It (TikTok) is owned by a Chinese company that includes Chinese Community Party members in leadership and it is required under Chinese law to share user data with Beijing,” said Senator Hawley, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism, during a recent Congressional hearing.

“TikTok has admitted that it has sent user data to China. To put it bluntly, this is a major security risk for the American people,” Hawley said.

Source:https://www.livemint.com/companies/news/support-in-us-for-india-banning-tiktok-and-other-chinese-apps-11593585422772.html

Indian it firms plan to move to Mexico & Canada due to h-1b visa restrictions

Indian and U.S. technology firms advise the Trump administration to reverse an executive order restricting access to certain job visas, saying the change would disrupt a market model used to bring high-skill expertise to Wall Street and Silicon Valley clients.

Last week’s order from Donald Trump inhibits approvals of a range of visas all through to the year-end, including those for intra-company transfers and study-outside programs, and aims to give American preference after recording job losses from the coronavirus pandemic. H-1B visas used by Indian workers and other countries to occupy key roles are vital to the tech industry.

Visa delivery is an complex, month-long undertaking and some interruption could affect vital employees’ ability to fly to consumer locations for an prolonged period of time. The virus lockdowns have now delayed vital consulate access to the network and pushed hundreds of thousands of employees into demanding work-from – home conditions.

India’s technology trade group, Nasscom, called Trump’s order “misguided and harmful to the U.S. economy” and warned it would exacerbate the country’s economic pain. 

Indian companies provide technology staff and services to U.S. hospitals, drugmakers and biotechnology companies, Nasscom pointed out. In addition, the industry may send more workers to Canada or Mexico without access to the U.S. market.

“These are highly-skilled workers who are in great demand and they will be mobile no matter what,” said Shivendra Singh, president of global trade development at Nasscom.

Among the other critics of the order were Alphabet Inc. Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichai, Microsoft Corp. President Brad Smith and Tesla Inc. founder Elon Musk. Pichai, himself a beneficiary of the H-1B visa system in the 1990s, tweeted, “Immigration has contributed immensely to America’s economic success making it a global leader in tech, and also Google the company it is today.” Tata Consultancy Services Ltd., Infosys Ltd. and Wipro Ltd., among the largest outsourcing companies in Asia, declined to comment.

According to immigration numbers, India accounts for around 70 per cent of the 85,000 H-1B visas granted annually. Of this number, 65,000 visas are given to international professionals with bachelor’s degrees, while the remaining 20,000 will be assigned to employees with more advanced degrees. The visa program was developed to allow businesses to recruit foreign staff to address a lack of highly qualified technical services and product creation expertise. The reality that every year Indian outsourcers receive a large amount of the visas has rendered the scheme problematic, with opponents alleging that businesses misuse the system by replacing American employees with cheaper foreign labour.

Shortly after assuming office, Trump promised to clamp down on work visas and overhaul the “broken” immigration framework. A long-term issue for outsourcers is the proposed redesign of the existing H-1B visa scheme by the government, which will substitute the established allocation mechanism to decide who accepts visas with a merit-based method that prioritizes wage-based applicants.

Now, outsourcing firms are grappling with the unpredictability of the visa situation and the possibility of an H-1B revamp being able to make it impossible to take all but the most important of talent outside the world.

Source:https://www.livemint.com/industry/infotech/indian-it-firms-may-set-up-new-outposts-in-canada-mexico-amid-h-1b-visa-curbs-11593495677657.html

GOVERNMENT LIKELY TO SPEND MUCH LESS THIS FISCAL YEAR

Rationalisation of expenditure by the government for the second quarter of the current fiscal year has led to rising concerns. Fear’s have plummeted as many believe that the government may end up spending way less than the budget level, it has previously estimated, this would result in the economy taking even longer to recover than before.

Lower revenue intake and rising debt rates of central and state governments due to increased borrowing to cope with COVID-19 pandemic-related spending have also contributed to worries about the debt-GDP ratio crossing the 80 per cent notional red line from the 70 per cent rate seen in the last fiscal period. Nevertheless, the worries are being challenged by some analysts who stress the need to focus on economic recovery and prosperity instead of relying exclusively on debt figures, with high economic costs of debt reining in terms of jobs and loss of life and wellbeing.

Last week, the Finance Ministry released spending control guidelines in the quarter of July-September, extending an earlier order for the cash management system, dated April 8. The April order had grouped divisions of government and ministries into three, detailing their April-June quarter budget limit. Class A has without limitation ministries and agencies such as the Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers’ Welfare, the Ministry of Civil Aviation, the Department of Health and Family Welfare, the Department of Rural Development and the Supreme Court of India.

Category B ministries and departments such as fertilizers, taxation, home affairs, election commissions and road and highways are expected to restrict spending to 20% of the 2020-21 budget total, whereas Category C ministries such as petrochemicals, energy, commerce, telecommunications, education , housing and urban affairs will only spend 15% of the budget.

The budget rationalization is likely being undertaken to allow enough headroom to dovetail the stimulus package unveiled last month, particularly when receipts are projected to be significantly smaller than this year’s projections. Direct taxes dropped by more than 25 per cent in the first quarter, though GST collections were just 45 per cent of the monthly mark. Economists point to some key aspects of the stimulus program, such as the allocation of funds to micro, small and medium-sized businesses under the 100 percent Emergency Credit Line Guarantee System that are failing to take off, thus exacerbating the effects of the continuing reduction of government spending.

With insufficient cash outgoing, fiscal support from the government in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic has been constrained. Schemes that are part of the stimulus plan, such as providing funds to micro, small and medium-sized enterprises under the 100% Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Programme, are failing to take off, with banks able to disburse a little over 7% of the volume distributed under this heading over the last one month. For MSMEs, hard hit by the pandemic lockdown, credit remains a challenge amid the demand slump. Official data shows that as of June 18, state-owned banks sanctioned loans worth Rs 40,416 crore under the scheme, of which Rs 21,028.55 crore has been disbursed, which is a little over 7 per cent of the Rs 3 lakh crore package under this head.

Source:https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/explained-why-the-government-is-likely-to-spend-much-less-this-fiscal-6481331/

HOW THE 1948 OLYMPIC GAMES PLAYED AN IMPORTANT ROLE IN THE AFTERMATH OF WW1

Japan had to agree to an unprecedented one year postponement from the initial insistence that the Olympics would be held on the originally stipulated dates with the usual pomp and pageantry. So now with the Covid-19 pandemic unlikely to depart early, the organisers have acknowledged that if they are cut down to keep expenses so safety risks in place, the only way the Games will be played in 2021 will be. This dream of a “simplified” Olympics – to use Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike ‘s term – entails ending the one-year countdown to the revamped Games, set for July 23 to August 8 next year, watering down the opening and closing ceremonies.

The organizers plan to check every fan, athlete, coach, and official .  Additionally, the movement of everyone participating in the Games is likely to be considerably limited, in whatever capacity. Both these steps are even more important when the International Olympic Committee has announced that the Olympics will not be delayed again, but will be canceled if they will not take place next year in July-August.

he ongoing pandemic is considered the world’s greatest societal threat since the Second World War. In the wake of which, the London Games of 1948—and sports — helped the world bounce back, that also played a role in morale-boosting. One key difference is that Tokyo had already made arrangements for a grand edition of the Games, and will now have to scale them down, but when the world recovered from the war, London 1948 could not afford the expenditure. Many parts of London still sport a dilapidated look from the bombings. There had been a shortage of certain supplies and the tight rationing for residents for the everyday necessities. In contrast to the Games Village set up at Tokyo Bay, the male athletes in 1948 were housed at Royal Air Force camps while the women stayed at colleges.

As The Guardian writes: “Not only was there no new Olympic stadium, there was no new velodrome, aquatics centre or handball arena either. Nor was there a purpose-built Olympic village… The organisers laid on bedding but asked contestants to bring their own towels.”

By throwing 800 tons of cinders over the greyhound course, they have turned Wembley into an athletics venue.No wonder they were called the ‘Austerity Games’ instead of the 1948 Olympics.It was tough for even British athletes to get the food that were considered essential in their sports for maximum results, which could explain the meagre haul of three gold, 14 silver and six bronze medals in the host country. There were also teams who carried their own food to the Tournaments.

Yet today the Games are remembered for the achievements of likes of Fanny Blankers-Koen, the 30-year-old Dutch mother of two, who won four gold medals, and Emil Zatopek, of Czechoslovakia, who took home the 10,000 m win.

To India, playing for the first time as a free nation at the Olympics, the highlight was its fourth consecutive hockey gold medal – that too beating Britain, its former rulers, in their own backyard.

But the Games — featuring 59 countries, with defeated powers Japan and Germany, kept out and the Soviet Union declining to participate — also brought people some relief amid their post-war struggles. The Guardian writes that the 1948 Olympics even managed a profit of almost £30,000, something unthinkable in the present age of ballooning budgets.

Today, the world is much more interconnected than it was in 1948. If the 2021 Olympics do take place, it will not be just about the sporting achievements. As Emil Zatopek had said at the end of the 1948 Games: “After all those dark days – the bombing, the killing, the starvation – the revival of the Olympic Games was as if the sun had come out… Suddenly there were no frontiers, no more barriers, just the people meeting together.”

Source:https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/explained-when-olympic-games-brought-cheer-after-a-crisis-in-1948-6478167/

DELHI’S RISING NO. NOT PERMANENT

As predicted, on Wednesday Delhi overtook Mumbai to become the region with the country’s largest number of novel Coronavirus cases. Delhi now has over 70,000 cases, of which roughly 40,000 have been detected during the last two weeks. These are around 800 fewer Mumbai has.

Yet it’s doubtful this condition will remain permanent. Delhi’s surge can be attributed to a marked increase in the number of samples tested by the city late, particularly after deploying the recently approved rapid antigen tests, which yield results in just about half an hour. The number of tests in Delhi has risen from around five to seven thousand a day in the last ten days to close to 20,000 on Wednesday.

On the other side, Mumbai performed very small experiments, between 4,000 and 4,500 a day. But Mumbai too, having ordered one lakh fast antigen kits, is now all set for an increased check. Mumbai ‘s case numbers are also expected to go up when these experiments continue to be implemented. There is already some criticism that Mumbai has spread its test net quite thinly, targeting only the primary contacts of the infected and those at the highest risk of infection. The real number of cases in Mumbai may be much higher, but since the results are small, this is not being observed.

Meanwhile, Delhi has also decided to carry out door-to – door monitoring to detect the disease early and minimize the spread. Mumbai has been doing this exercise on a smaller scale for some time, and he’s had some success. Door-to – door screening results in early identification of suspected outbreaks, thus reducing the number of individuals to which the virus can be spread. This exercise could theoretically halt or delay the growth of Delhi events.

Door-to – door surveillance is now expected in Madhya Pradesh as well as starting July 1. The test is part of a fortnight-long program to step up measures to curb the virus’ spread. The disease has also accelerated dramatically in the state. Indeed, Madhya Pradesh is the slowest growing country among major states, with growth rates below 2%.

One city which was lauded for its efforts to monitor the spread of the virus until quite recently is Bengaluru. It had succeeded in avoiding the fate of Delhi , Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Chennai , Hyderabad, Pune or Kolkata. Over the last few days, though, the situation has improved somewhat, but it is better than the other big cities. More than 1,000 new cases have been identified this month in the region, while about 70 people have died. Local officials are now considering a partial shutdown to curb the rise.

In Chandigarh, a weekend shutdown is also being considered, but it is more to do with people who do not follow basic laws of physical distance than any big surge in cases. Chandigarh has only 420 confirmed illnesses, many of which didn’t meet physical distancing rules. Nevertheless, merchants and shopkeepers have resisted any attempt to enforce a weekend lockout. Punjab also follows the pattern of lockout at the weekend.

On Wednesday about 17,000 new cases were reported across the country bringing the overall number of infections above 4.7 lakh, of which about 2.6 lakh have recovered. Close to 15,000 people have died in India so far because of the disease.

Source:https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/india-coronavirus-cases-explained-delhi-mumbai-covid-cases-deaths-6475436/

‘LEARN FROM HISTORY’ SAYS DONALD TRUMP

As America comes face to face with it’s racism in its past, President Donald Trump has firmly back lined up with those who argue that the pendulum has swung too far in favor of removing statues and other symbols of that flawed history, saying errors will be repeated unless learned from and understood.

Trump’s campaign also sees the division over this new political flash point as a way to improve the president’s reputation, which has weakened through his treatment of the coronavirus epidemic and the social discrimination demonstrations that accompanied the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. After weeks spent demanding “law and order” in response to the protests sparked by Floyd’s death by police, Trump began to draw a line in the sand.

He vowed executive action to preserve landmarks after several Confederate statues and other historical icons with checkered life stories were violently pulled down from parks and other socially popular spots.

Trump says he wanted the highest penalty possible under federal law — up to a decade in prison — for anyone who wrecks or tamper with public property monuments commemorating those who served in the U.S. military. He said the executive order would “strengthen” existing legislation.

“We are looking at long-term jail sentences for these vandals and these hoodlums and these anarchists and agitators,” Trump said, referring to protesters who have vented their anger over racial injustice by toppling statues of figures tied to America’s racist history.

He spoke out after an attempt Monday night to bring down a Lafayette Park statue of Andrew Jackson, one of Trump’s favorite presidents, was foiled by police in the park across from the White House. Trump called it a “sneak attack” on the statue of Jackson, who owned slaves and was ruthless in his treatment of Native Americans. “We should learn from the history,” he told Fox News in a taped interview broadcast Tuesday. “And if you don’t understand your history, you will go back to it again.”

Trump’s campaign sees the attempts to remove statues as a potential presidential lifeline. The campaign argues that liberals are dramatically overreaching by embracing calls to “defund the police” and remove statues of American icons taught in history books.

In the current climate, Trump’s prior support of Confederate statues and military bases named after such individuals posed a political risk. But aides now believe the president has found an unexpected new line of attack on Democrats as the effort to remove symbols has spread to include the likes of Presidents Ulysses S. Grant, Jackson and George Washington in some places.

Although all three figures were flawed individuals, Trump’s campaign believes he can use them to wage a culture war and position the president as the defender of a way of life threatened by demographic change and generational shifts in views on issues ranging from marriage to racial justice.

Calls to overhaul policing and confront lingering racial inequality may be bipartisan, but Trump’s reelection team believes the most aggressive steps being pushed by some Democrats will turn off centrists and energize the president ‘s base-– many of whom share his avowed commitment to safeguard symbols of the nation’s past. A White House official and a campaign assistant summarized the president’s rationale by speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not allowed to publicly discuss the issue.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday cast the “lawlessness” of the attacks on statues as a cultural phenomenon among “far-left radicals” in need of a history lesson.

Source:https://indianexpress.com/article/world/trump-says-learn-from-history-instead-of-removing-statues-6473595/

Will US pause on H1-B visas will impact Indian companies?

On Tuesday, the U.S. government announced it extended the 60-day immigration and non-immigrant worker visa ban until the end of 2020. Popular work visas including the much coveted H-1B and H-2B and some categories of H-4, J and L visas will also remain suspended until 31 December, the White House said in a press release.

The move, said US President Donald Trump, was to protect domestic workers who had been affected in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic because of a contraction in the economy.

To fill a shortage with highly qualified low-cost workers in IT and other similar fields, the U.S. government issues a variety with permits per year allowing businesses outside the U.S. to send staff to work on customers.

Among all working visas, the H-1B remains the most common among IT companies in India. Per year, the US government has a quota of 85,000 H-1B total visas. Of this, 65,000 H-1B visas are issued to highly skilled foreign workers, while the remaining 20,000 may be allocated additionally to highly skilled foreign workers who have an American university degree in higher education or master’s.

In addition to the H-1B visas, the US government also issues L1 visas allowing companies to transfer highly skilled workers to the US for up to seven years. H-2B visas enable food and farm workers to seek employment in the US.

After its introduction in 1952, the H-1 visa system has undergone several modifications and amendments to authorize or disallow other groups of foreign workers in the US, depending on the country’s economic situation.

Together with the arrival of the internet and low-cost computers in developing countries such as India and China, the technology boom saw a large number of graduates willing to work at relatively low costs in the US, a win-win situation for both the employer and the staff. Since then, though, it has been frequently criticized for sending low-cost workers to the US at the expense of homeworkers.

After taking over as US president in January 2017, Trump had suggested that low-cost workers hampered the economy and undermined citizens’ jobs. The US then suggested that the “broken” H-1B visa system be reformed.

Trump seized the opportunity presented by Covid-19’s economic contraction by first banning the entry of non-immigrant workers until June 23, and then extending it until December 31.

Trump said in his executive order extending the ban that while “properly administered temporary worker programs can bring benefits to the economy” under normal circumstances, the extraordinary economic contraction created as a result of Covid-19 posed a threat to American workers.

As the ban is in place immediately, issuance of the additional types of visas H-1B, H-2B, J, and L will have to be halted. This means that those who do not have a valid non-immigrant visa as of June 23, and who are outside the US, will not be allowed to enter the country until December 31. Some relief has been given to workers in essential services in the food sector and their entry will be decided by the immigration services consular officer.

Source:https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/us-h1b-visa-suspension-india-it-companies-6471966/