On Thursday, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman addressed the country and announced a 1.7 lakh crore economic relief package for those who suffered in the Coronavirus outbreak. The launch of ‘PM Gareeb Kalyan’ scheme aims to reach out and deliver aid to the poorest.
The government has been working so that those affected due to the novel coronavirus since the lockdown commenced on the intervening night of 24-25 March, will be reached out. We have come up with a package that will take care of the welfare concerns of the poor,” said Nirmala Sitharaman.
The following are the prominent lookouts in the conference.
- The ‘Prime Minister Gareeb Kalyan Scheme’ provides the Ujwala scheme which accounts for the 8.3 crores BPL families in the country. The project aims to deliver cash transfers and prevent food insecurities. Under this, the families are entitled to free gas cylinders for the next 3 months to cover the shortages in cooking.
- 80 crore poor citizens are to be provided with 5 kg of pulses for free. Currently, they are entitled to 5 kg of wheat/rice per person. Now, a total of 10 kg of pulses they can expect. Additionally, 1 kg of pulses, as per the regional preference, is to be provided. They can take it in 2 installments in the next 3 months.
- Added in the ‘Prime Minister Gareeb Kalyan Scheme’, provision of Rs 50 lakh insurance per health care worker as medical insurance is announced for the coverage of 3 months. Also, the scheme will include cash transfers to the poor and the migrants.
- A total of 8 specific groups: Farmers, MGNREGA beneficiaries, poor widows, poor divyang, Women having Jan Dhan Yojana accounts and Women under the Ujjwala Yojana, Women engaged in SHGs, Women under EPFO and daily construction workers are to be helped with cash deposits and installments.
- Central Govt has requested the State Govt to use ‘District Mineral Funds’ to exercise medical testing and screening of patients in a clean hospitable environment. Also, State governments are to be directed under ‘Buildings and Other Construction Workers’ Fund to utilize an existing Rs 31,000 crore welfare fund to provide aid to 3.5 crore construction workers.
- The government assured the regulation of EPF (Employee Provident Fund). Workers can withdraw 75% non-refundable amount in advance from Credit to PF accounts or the next 3 months’ salary, whichever is lesser. Central Govt will contribute 24% in EPFO contribution for the next 3 months. This accounts for 12% for the employer and 12% for an employee for firms with over 100 employees who earn less than Rs 15,000.
- Twenty crore women having Jan Dhan account holders will be provided Rs 500 exgratia amount for the next 3 months. This aims to benefit the 63 lakh self-help groups for women, covering 7 crore households in India. Collateral-free loan amount doubled to Rs 20 lakh to increase hard cash.
- Three crore old citizens, pensioners, and Divyang are authorized one additional amount of Rs 1000 in 2 installments for the next three months, through DBT for transparency.
- Food packets for migrants and workers so that no one will go hungry.
The novel Coronavirus, COVID-19 has forced top economies in the world to a shutdown. According to the Health Ministry, India has observed 649 positive cases of the virus and 13 death cases.
Recently, 21 days lockdown has been authorized in the country to fight against the spread. Stay safe & healthy, take appropriate precautions and update regularly.