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Highlights: FM announces economic package to deal with Covid-19 impact

Government is planning to provide a relief package of Rs 1.7 trillion to the underprivileged, poor and migrant workers

BS Web Team  |  New Delhi 

nirmala sitharaman
FM Nirmala Sitharaman | Photo: @ANI

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharama on Thursday announced the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Scheme, under which the government would provide a relief package of Rs 1.7 trillion to the underprivileged, poor and migrant workers affected by a lockdown amid the Covid-19 crisis.

The FM also stated that workers like nurses, paramedics and sanitation staff, who were on the frontline of the war against the virus, would be provided a medical insurance cover of Rs 50 lakh per person.

FM press conference highlights:
  • Prime Minister Gareeb Kalyan scheme to have two parts — cash transfer and food security
  • Covid-19 package to take care of the welfare concerns of the poor and migrant workers who have been suffering because of a nationwide lockdown
  • Insurance cover for healthcare workers attending to Covid-19 patients: Rs 50 lakh per person
  • Two million health workers to benefit from the insurance scheme

Two silos of PM Gareeb Kalyan scheme

1. Pradjhan Mantri Gareeb Kalyan Anna Yojana: 800 million poor people in the country to get 5 kg of rice/wheat per month free of cost, in addition to the 5 kg they already get. Additionally, each household to get 1 kg of preferred dal for free for the next three months

2. Cash transfer scheme: Nine sub-parts

  • Farmers: First instalment of the payment of Rs 2,000 to be frontloaded; move to benefit 87 million

  • MGNREGS: Wage increased from Rs 182 to Rs 202 per day. Wage increase to benefit 50 million families, as there will be about 2000 increase in their income
  • Poor widows, aged, and divyang: Ex-gratia of Rs 1,000 for the next three months, in two instalments. 30 million people to benefit. transfers to be done through direct benefits transfer (DBT)
  • Women with Jan Dhan Yojana accounts: 200 million to benefit from Rs 500 ex-gratia for the next 3 months
  • Beneficiaries of the Ujjwala scheme: 80 million households benefitted from the gas cylinders provided under the scheme. These beneficiaries will get free cylinders for three months in view of the disruption the lockdown will cause.
  • Women in self-help groups: 6.3 million SHGs get up to Rs 10 lakh collateral-free loans under the Deen Dayal Upadhyaya National Rural Mission scheme. The cap has been doubled to Rs 20 lakh. The move will benefit 70 million households
  • Organised sector workers: Two parts to this. First, the Government of India will pay the EPF contribution of both employee and employer for the next three months. This will be for all those establishments which have up to 100 employees, 90 per cent of whom earn less than Rs 15,000 a month

And second, in what will benefit 8 million employees and 400,000 establishments, the EPFO regulation will be amended to allow the withdrawal of up to 75 per cent of their corpus as non-refundable advance, or three months' salary, whichever is less

  • Construction workers: States to be directed to utilise the Rs 31,000 crore welfare fund for building and construction workers for the benefit of 35 million workers in the midst of the crisis
  • District mineral fund: State govts to be urged to utilise this fund for medical screening, medical testing and providing health care services in the wake of the crisis

First Published: Thu, March 26 2020. 14:11 IST
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