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Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Monday that companies’ expenditure to fight the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic will be considered valid under corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities. The coronavirus outbreak will be treated as a disaster, the Finance Minister said on Twitter.

“Keeping in view of the spread of novel Corona Virus (COVID-19) in India, its declaration as pandemic by the World Health Organisaton (WHO), and decision of Government of India to treat this as a notified disaster. It is hereby clarified that spending of CSR funds for COVID-19 is eligible CSR activity,” Ministry of Corporate Affairs said in an official notification.

“Funds may be spent for various activities related to COVID-19 relating to promotion of healthcare, including preventive health care and sanitation and disaster management,” ministry’s notification added.

Following the outbreak of deadly coronavirus various state governments across the country announced lockdowns of various cities to contain the outbreak of the pandemic.

The government today ordered states to “strictly enforce lockdown” and asked for legal action against those who violated the restriction, a day after 80 districts across the country were brought under a shutdown to check the spread of coronavirus, which has infected more than 400 people.

Many people are still not taking the lockdown seriously, Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted this morning. He also urged states to ensure that the directives are followed by people.

“Many people are still not taking the lockdown seriously. Please save yourself, save your family, follow the directives seriously. I request the state governments to ensure that the rules and laws are followed,” the Prime Minister tweeted in Hindi.

Many states have imposed Section 144, which bans gatherings of more than four people. Those violating the ban can face punishment under Section 188, which could mean jail for up to one month or a fine of Rs 200, or both.


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