Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced a Rs 1.7 trillion economic stimulus package today to help India's poor and migrant population tackle the financial difficulties arising from the Covid-19 outbreak and the 21-day nationwide lockdown.
India has entered Day-2 of the 21-day nationwide lockdown over the Covid-19 outbreak, which has infected 649 people in the country.
The Covid-19 package aims to take care of the welfare concerns of the poor and migrant workers who have been suffering because of the lockdown.
Finance Minister Nirmana Sitharaman gave an assurance that no one would go hungry, while announcing the relief package under PM Gareeb Kalyan Scheme.
She said the scheme will have two parts — cash transfer and food security
1. Under Pradhan Mantri Gareeb Kalyan Anna Yojana, 800 million poor people in the country will get 5 kg of rice or wheat per month free of cost, over and above the 5 kg already available to them. Additionally, each household will get one kg of dal for free for the next three months
2. Under the Cash transfer scheme, the first instalment of Rs 2,000 under the PM-KISAN will be frontloaded and paid to about 87 million farmers.
The FM also stated that health care staff such as 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 each. Some two million health workers will benefit from this scheme.
MGNREGS: Wage have been increased from Rs 182 to Rs 202 per day and will benefit 50 million families, as the increase will augment their income by about Rs 2,000.
Poor widows, aged, and divyang: An ex-gratia of Rs 1,000 for the next three months, payable in two instalments, will benefit 30 million people. The payment will be made through direct benefits transfer (DBT)
Women with Jan Dhan Yojana accounts: 200 million will get an ex-gratia payment of Rs 500 each for the next three months.
Beneficiaries of the Ujjwala scheme: 80 million households have already obtained gas cylinders provided under the scheme. These beneficiaries will get free cylinders for three months in view of the disruption the coronavirus lockdown will cause.
Women in self-help groups: 6.3 million SHGs will 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: 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.
In what will benefit 8 million employees and 400,000 establishments, the EPFO rules 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 will 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 coronavirus crisis
District mineral fund: State governments will be urged to utilise this fund for medical screening, medical testing and providing health care services in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.