As an action plan for benefitting people affected from the nation-wide lockdown due to coronavirus outbreak, Nirmala Sitharaman, Union Finance Minister addressed the nation today informing about Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package as a relief for around 80 cr people.
The package is worth Rs 1 lakh 70 thousand crore and is expected to benefit around 80 crore people across the nation. According to the Finance Minister, the package will address two major issues – food and money in hand through DBT transfers.
The FM announced, “At first we will be providing medical insurance of Rs 50 lakh per person to doctors, nurses, sanitation workers, paramedics and other officials or workers engaged in fighting coronavirus on the frontline.” Around 20 lakh such workers will be benefitted with the scheme, the FM added.
Addressing food availability issues
The FM said that to provide poor people with enough food during the pandemic, the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Ann Yojana has been launched to provide food to 80 cr poor people.
Under the scheme, the Government of India will provide an additional 5 kg of either rice or wheat for free of cost to the poor for the next three months. Moreover, 1 kg od pulses (whichever will be available locally) will also be provided to the people. People can collect food grains in two instalments.
Addressing cash issues
The Minister announced that farmers are already getting Rs 6000 annually from the government as an aid. Now, we will be providing a sum of Rs 2000, which would be the first instalment, at the beginning of the month to provide them with immediate financial relief. The scheme is expected to benefit around 8.69 crore farmers across the country.
The FM also announced benefits for those registered under the MNREGA scheme. The government has increased daily wages from Rs 182 to Rs 202 which will provide the benefit of around increase Rs 2000 per worker. This will benefit around 5 cr families registered under the scheme, said the Minister.
Further, for poor old-aged, widows and disabled, the government will be releasing a one-time amount of Rs 1000 in 2 instalments over the next three months. The move is expected to benefit around 3 cr poor old aged, widows and disabled citizens.
For around 20 crore people who have accounts under the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana will be getting an amount of Rs 500 on a monthly basis for the next three months.
Moreover, for families who are registered under the centre’s Ujjawala Yojana scheme will be provided with free cylinders for a period of three months. The government aims to benefit nearly 8.3 cr people with this aid.
The mInister has also announced relief for around 7cr families under 63 lakh Self-Help Groups for National Urban Livelihood Missions (NULM). As per the FM, the government has doubled the amount of loan for SHGs to Rs 20 lakh which will be collateral-free.
As an aid for the people in the organised sector, the Government of India has planned to contribute EPF payment of 12 percent from the employers’ end and 12 percent from the employees’ end for the next three months. The financial aid is valid for the companies which have up to 100 employees with 90 percent of them earning less than Rs 15,000 a month. Over 80 lakh workers and around 4 lakh establishments will benefit from the move, the Minister added.
Moreover, the Finance Minister said that the government is ready to amend the EPF regulations to allow people to withdraw 75 percent of the amount (non-refundable) or three months wages whichever is lower. This will benefit 4.85 cr workers registered with the EPF, added the FM.
The government of India also came up with a plan for construction workers. The Finance Minister asked the state governments to utilise Welfare Fund for Building and Construction Workers for helping those workers who are facing economic disruption due to the lockdown. The Fund is worth around Rs 31,000 crore and has around 3.5 crore registered workers under it.
Also, the State governments have been asked to utilise the District Mineral Funds for medical activities, screening activities and other necessary measures need to be taken.