03:41 GMT09 August 2020
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    New Delhi (Sputnik): Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address the nation later in the day on “Covid-19 and the efforts to combat it” as the number of confirmed cases rises to 166.

    In order to mitigate risks to trade and workers in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, Indian industry association Assocham has suggested that app-based cabs be permitted to act as delivery drivers.

    The Chamber has urged the Indian authorities to consider the suggestion which is in the spirit of ideas sought by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to deal with different aspects of the emergency.

    According to Assocham, delivery via apps can be encouraged for all online and phone orders from e-commerce players as well as traditional retail stores for household essentials in cities, where social distancing is being advised.

    The association believes that this will also help the app-based cab service providers who are experiencing a decline in ridership due to Covid-19 fears.

    “With people, rightly avoiding crowded markets, there has been a sharp increase in pick-up orders from online platforms. There has also been a big rise in families placing telephonic orders to the retail grocers who too are organising themselves into the home-delivery models of businesses. As there has been a rise in this format of selling, the delivery logistics can be filled in, as emergency and stop-gap measures, by lakhs of app-based cabs, who are facing a severe reduction in passengers,” said Assocham Secretary General Deepak Sood.

    Sood added that the drivers of the app-based cabs are facing a severe crunch in their business due to the Covid-19 outbreak and finding it difficult to service loans taken from banks for their vehicles.

    To help such drivers, Assocham has suggested that India’s regulatory bank the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) may also consider “forbearance for them, as a measure of emergency support”.

    The number of daily rides on app based cab rose from one million in 2017 to 3 million in 2017 and 3.5 million in 2018. The coronavirus outbreak originated in Wuhan last December and has affected more than 150 countries around the world

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