In the wake of 21-day lockdown announced due to Coronavirus scare, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has announced a Rs 1.7 lakh crore relief package under the Prime Minister Garib Kalyan Yojana so that the poor and labourers do not go without foodgrains and money in their hands.
“The package will benefit those migrant workers, urban and rural poor, besides women. The PM Garib Kalyan scheme that we want to come out with, is expected to be a toal of 1.70 lakh crore. The measures taken will be cash transfer and food security related,” she told reporters.
“We do not want anyone to remain hungry. So, we will be giving enough so that the foodgrains and protein requirements of theirs are met in terms of pulses. Also, they should not remain without money in hand. So, several measures through DBT are being taken,” she added.
For farmers, Sitharaman said an advance first installment of Rs 2,000 will be released as part of PM Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojana, which will benefit 8.69 crore farmers.
“You know, the farmers receive Rs 6,000 annually from the PM Kisan Samman Nidhi, annually. We will now giving them an advance first installment of that as a front loaded matter, so that even at the beginning of the year, they will get Rs 2,000. This will benefit immediately 8.69 crore farmers,” she said.
Sitharaman also announced a wage increase in MGNREGA, which will result in additional income of Rs 2000 per worker, that will benefit 5 crore families.
“From 182, it has been increased to Rs 202, and as a result we expect Rs 2000 per worker will be the additional income he would get and this benefit 5 crore families,” she said.
Announcing relief package to women SHGs,
Sitharaman said te government has increased a collateral-free loans up to Rs 20 lakh, instead of present Rs 10 lakh for women SHGs. It will immediately have an impact on 63 lakh SHGs, which would benefit seven crore households.
“Collateral-free loan now will be given to them up to Rs 20 lakh and not Rs 10 lakh. It is now doubled …,” she said.
Sitharaman also announced Rs 50 lakh medical insurance cover provided to the frontline warriors- ASHA workers, doctors, nurses, paramedics etc.
Announcing a relief package to old aged persons, widows and divyang, Sitharaman said an additional one time ex-gratia amount of Rs 1,000 will be given in two installments over the next three months through DBT. “This will benefit three crore beneficiaries,” she said.
Government also will provide three free cooking gas cylinders for the next three months under the Ujjwala Scheme which will benefit 8 crore BPL families, Sitharaman said.
An ex gratia amount of Rs 500 per month for next three months will be given to women Jan Dhan account holders, which will benefit 20 crore women, she said.
EPF members will be allowed to draw non-refundable advance of 75% from credit in their PF account or 3 months salary, whichever is lower, Sitharaman said.
She also said safai karmcharis, ward boys, nurses, paramedics, technicians, doctors and specialists and other health would be covered by a special insurance scheme.
Sitharaman said any health professional, who while treating the virus patients meets with some accident, then he or she would be compensated with Rs 50 lakh under the insurance scheme.
Aproximately 22 lakh health workers would be provided insurance cover to fight the pandemic, she said.
For wage earners earning below Rs 15000 per month in businesses having less than 100 workers, the government proposes to pay 24 per cent of their monthly wages into their PF accounts for the next three months, Sitharaman said.
“This would prevent disruption in their employment. Rs 5000 crore is being provided for this purpose,” she said.
Government will give 3 crore aged widows and divyangs, who are vulnerable due to economic disruption caused by coronavirus, Rs 1000 each for next three months, Sitharaman said.
“Rs 3000 crore has been provided for this purpose,” she said.
Under PM Garib Kalyan Ann Yojana, the government will bear entire expenditure of Rs 40,000 crore spent for providing 80 crore people foodgrains due to the disruption in next three months, Sitharaman said.