FM announces Rs 1.70 lakh cr package for poor to fight coronavirus

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New Delhi: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has announced Rs 1.70 Lakh cr relief package under Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana for poor to fight COVID19.

Sitharaman  has also announced insurance cover of Rs 50 Lakh per health worker fighting COVID-19.

Reports said 80 crore poor people will to get 5 kg wheat or rice and 1 kg of preferred pulses for free every month for the next three months. This apart, 20 crore women Jan Dhan account holders to get Rs 500 per month for next three months.

The other important announcements are-

Increase in MNREGA wage to Rs 202 a day from Rs 182 to benefit 13.62 crore families.

  • An ex-gratia of Rs 1,000 to 3 crore poor senior citizen, poor widows and poor disabled
  • Government to front-load Rs 2,000 paid to farmers in first week of April under existing PM Kisan Yojana to benefit 8.7 crore farmers
  • Central Government has given orders to State Governments to use Building and Construction Workers Welfare Fund to provide relief to Construction Workers

Addressing  a press conference here on Thursday Sitharaman said:  “Today’s measures are intended at reaching out to the poorest of the poor, with food and money in hands, so that they do not face difficulties in buying essential supplies and meeting essential needs.”

The Safai karamcharis, ward-boys, nurses, ASHA workers, paramedics, technicians, doctors and specialists and other health workers would be covered by a Special insurance Scheme.

  • Any health professional, who while treating Covid-19 patients, meet with some accident, then he/she would be compensated with an amount of Rs 50 lakh under the scheme.
  • All government health centres, wellness centres and hospitals of Centre as well as States would be covered under this scheme approximately 22 lakh health workers would be provided insurance cover to fight this pandemic.

The first installment of Rs 2,000 due in 2020-21 will be front-loaded and paid in April 2020 itself under the PM KISAN Yojana. It would cover 8.7 crore farmers.

Gas cylinders will be provided  free of cost to 8 crore poor families for the next three months.

Support for senior citizens (above 60 years), widows and Divyang: There are around 3 crore aged widows and people in Divyang category who are vulnerable due to economic disruption caused by COVID-19.

  • Government will give them Rs 1,000 to tide over difficulties during next three months.●

The MNREGA wages would be increased by Rs 20 with effect from 1 April, 2020. Wage increase under MNREGA will provide an additional Rs 2,000 benefit annually to a worker.

This will benefit approximately 13.62 crore families.

  • Self-Help groups: Women organised through 63 lakhs Self Help Groups (SHGs) support 6.85 crore households.
  • Limit of collateral free lending would be increased from Rs 10 to Rs 20 lakhs. a. VI. Other components of PM Garib Kalyan package Organised sector: Employees’ Provident Fund Regulations will be amended to include Pandemic as the reason to allow non-refundable advance of 75 percent of the amount or three months of the wages, whichever is lower, from their accounts.
  • Families of four crore workers registered under EPF can take benefit of this window.
  • Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare Fund: Welfare Fund for Building and Other Constructions Workers has been created under a Central Government Act.
  • District Mineral Fund The State Government will be asked to utilise the funds available under District Mineral Fund (DMF) for supplementing and augmenting facilities of medical testing, screening and other requirements in connection with preventing the spread of COVID-19 pandemic as well as treating the patients affected with this pandemic.

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