Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday stated that 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 Finance Minister said while addressing media in Delhi.
She added that “There will be Rs 50 lakh insurance per health care worker as a medical insurance cover for them for three months. Hopefully, we would be able to contain the virus in this period.”
Here are some key announcements:
- Pradhan Mantri Gareeb Kalyan Ann Yojna (for next 3 months): 80 crore poor people covered (2/3rd of India’s population), in addition to already allotted 5Kg of rice/wheat per person, an additional 5kg will be free. An additional 1kg pulse (according to regional preference) will be given.
- 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.
- Wage increase in MGNREGA– 5 crore families benefited, an increase of Rs 2000 per worker on average as additional income.
- Old age, Divyang, pensioners: 3 crore people covered, one-time amount of additional Rs 1000 in two installments through DBT (hence no middlemen) over 3 months to be given.
- 20 crore Jan Dhan Women account holders covered- Ex gratia amount of Rs 500 per month for the next three months.
- Ujjawala scheme near 8.3 crores BPL families covered in this so that no running short of cooking medium, for 3 months free cylinders.
- DBT Cash transfers:
- Farmers, MGNREGA, Poor widows, Pensioners, and divyangs covered
- Jan Dhan Yojna accounts, Ujjwala scheme, Self-help group women dealing with DDU livelihood missions, EPFO organised workers covered
- Construction workers and district mineral workers covered
- Self Help women groups (7 crore houses holds covered), collateral-free loans doubled to 20 Lakh, to increase money in hand.
- District Mineral Fund: Central Government to request State Governments to use this fund to augment medical testing and screening and providing health attention.
Furthermore, she added that “Government of India will pay the Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) contribution, both employer and employee, put together it will be 24%, this will be for the next 3 months. This is for those establishments which have up to 100 employees and 90% of them earn less than 15,000.”
“The Government is ready to amend the regulation of EPF due to this pandemic so that workers can draw up to 75% non-refundable advance from credit in PF account or 3 months salary, whichever is lower, adding, this decision is going to benefit 4.8 crore workers,” she said.
Also, it has been announced that the “Welfare for building and construction workers, registered 3.5 crore workers to be benefited, Central Govt has given orders to State Governments to use fund (Rs31,000 crore) to provide relief.”