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Don’t want anyone to remain hungry’: Sitharaman announces Covid-19 relief package

Don’t want anyone to remain hungry’: Sitharaman announces Covid-19 relief package
In The News

The Finance Minister also expressed gratitude for doctors and nurses who are dealing with Covid-19 patients.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday announced a comprehensive economic package to deal with the impact of coronavirus disease Covid-19.

*Fiscal measures announced:-*

….*A package of 1.7 lac crore assigned to combat the pandemic of virus*… as follows:-

1. *Insurance Cover* of *50 lacs per person* to Doctors, paramedics, vs nurses, technicians, asha workers, policemen and other involved in combating the virus.
(Approx 20 lacs people to be involved)..

2. *Pradhanmantri Garib Kalyan Anna yojna* – *80 cr poor people* to get food security. *5kg rice and 5kg wheat, + 5kg in addition rice or wheat or a mix of both (restricted to 5kg) per person free* for next three months.
*1 kg pulse per household (regional preferenced) – free.*

3. Cash Transfer under Direct Benefit Transfer :-
A. *20 Cr Women having Jandhan Yojna Account:* Ex- gratia amount of *Rs 500/month* for next three months

B. *Ujwala Yojna*:- GAS Cylinder – *8.3 cr BPL families* to get *free cylinders for next three months*

C. Women under *Self Help Groups* – 7 cr households under 63 lacs SHG – Collatral free Loan of 10 lac doubled ie., *upto 20 lacs collatoral free loan, can be availed.*

D. *EPFO* :- GoI will pay EPF contribution of employer / employee @12% each for next 3 months. This is for all those establishments having upto 100 employees and 90% of the employees having less than Rs. 15000/month as wage.

The provident fund regulations to be ammended to allow *non- refundable advance of 75% amount standing to credit* of member *OR* *3 months salary* whichever is *lower.* EXPECTED to benefit 4.8 cr workers registered with EPFO.

E. *Construction Workers*:- Use of *Buidling & Construction Welfare fund under Central Govt Act, fund of Rs. 31k Cr to benefit 3.5 cr workers*

F. *District Mineral Fund*: Use for medical testing , screening activities, and other medical uses avaialble at hand of state govt

G. *Farmers under DBT* : Rs. 2000/farmer in April First Week under Farmers Nidhi Yojna – Benefit to 8.69 Cr farmers.

H. *MANREGA* : *Wage increased to Rs. 202/day* from 182/day benefiting of 5 cr family

I. *60 above aged , widows , viklangs :- DBT- One time exgratia amount- Rs. 1000* in two installments over next three months.

 

“The government has been working to reach out to women, migrant workers, and the disadvantaged section of the society. We have come out with a package that will address concerns of these people. We are looking at two aspects: Cash transfer and food security related measures,” Sitharaman said at a press conference.

“We don’t want anyone to remain hungry, or without money. So we will be giving enough,” she added announcing Rs 1,70,000 crore relief package for urban and rural poor.

The finance minister also expressed gratitude for all those “frontline warriors” who are dealing with patients affected by coronavirus disease.

“They could be ASHA workers, nurses, doctors. They are being referred to as ‘God in white costumes’. For them, we are providing an insurance cover of Rs 50 lakh per person,” said Sitharaman.

Earlier this week, the Finance Minister had said a package is under works and will be announced.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi last week had constituted a task force headed by the Finance Minister to work out package for economy hit by coronavirus and reeling under a 21-day lockdown.

The lockdown means that India won’t meet its five per cent growth target this year; it also means that India will miss its 10 per cent nominal growth target next year (2020-21).

Investment and consumption will both fall. There will be job losses. More people will be pushed back into poverty. The crisis in the banking sector, both a cause and effect of the pre-coronavirus slowdown in India, will become worse.

The worst affected will be the informal sector – hit hard by 2016’s demonetisation and further weakened by 2017’s implementation of a unified Goods and Services Tax – but a three-week suspension of economic activity will hit just about every business.

The total number of Covid-19 cases in India has risen to 649, including 593 active cases and 42 people who have been cured or discharged from hospitals, the Ministry of Health said.

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