The government has allowed non-banking financial companies (NBFCs), housing finance companies (HFCs) and microfinance institutions (MFIs) to operate with bare minimum staff amid the extended lockdown. The cooperative credit societies are also allowed to operate, the Ministry of Home Affairs said in its latest circular. The order will apply to all these financial institutions across the states and UTs in the country. It comes after the NBFCs and MFIs asked the government to also allow them to operate similar to banks. In the first phase of lockdown, the government only allowed banks to operate. The banks operated with revised functioning hours.
Earlier the government had announced that the bank branches will remain open as per normal working hours till the disbursal of direct benefit transfer (DBT) of cash is complete. Bank branches and ATMs, information technology vendors for banking operations, banking correspondents (BCs), ATM operations and cash management agencies would operate as usual from April 20, the Union Home Ministry said in latest guidelines.
However, the revised guidelines would not be allowed in the containment zones, the government said. "If any new area is included in the category of containment zone, the activities allowed in that area till the time of its categorisation as a containment zone, will be suspended except for those activities as are specifically permitted under the guidelines of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW)," it said.
Meanwhile, last week, Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his address to the nation said that holistic and integrated approach in taking quick and decisive action had helped the country substantially contain the spread of coronavirus.