Indian FM Nirmana Sitharaman on Thursday announced an economic stimulus package to help the nation tackle the financial difficulties arising from the Covid-19 outbreak. Sitharaman said the economic relief package will focus primarily on migrant laborers and daily wage laborers.
“A package is ready for the poor who need immediate help like migrant workers and urban and rural poor. No one will go hungry. The package is worth Rs 1.7 lakh crore,” Sitharaman said.
- The package will include a mix of food security and direct cash transfer benefits, which shield poor families during the lockdown. This will be done under the Pradhan Mantri Gareeb Kalyan Ann Yojna.
- For the next 3 months, at least 80 crore poor people will be covered. Under the scheme, an additional five kilos of rice/wheat will be given along with 1-kilo pulse per household.
- There will be Rs 50 lakh insurance cover for each healthcare worker for three months.
- 8.69 crore farmers to be immediately benefited through Direct cash transfers. Installment of Rs 2000 in the first week of April will be transferred.
- Wages under MNREGA will also be increased by Rs 2000 per worker on average as additional income to help daily wage laborers.
- 3 crore senior citizens, persons with disabilities (Divyangs) and widows will get a one-time additional amount of Rs 1,000 in two installments, to be given through DBT over a period of three months.
- 20 crore Jan Dhan women account holders will be covered under the relief package and a compensation of Rs 500 per month for the next three months.
- BPL families will get free cylinders for three months under the Ujjawala scheme as well.
- Meanwhile, collateral-free loans have been doubled to Rs 20 Lakh for women self-help groups under the Deen Dayal National Livelihood Mission. It will help seven crore women.
- The government will bear the cost of EPF contribution of both employer and employee (24%) for the next three months. However, this is only for those establishments which have up to 100 employees and 90 percent of them earn less than Rs 15,000. This is like to benefit around 4.8 crore employees, Sitharaman said.
- “Govt ready to amend the regulation of EPF due to this pandemic so that workers can draw up to 75 percent non-refundable advance from credit in PF account or 3 months salary, whichever is lower,” Sitharaman added.
- The central government also has passed orders to states to use funds worth Rs 31,000 crore to provide relief. This fund is likely to be used to augment medical testing, screening and providing better healthcare facilities, said Sitharaman.