- Summary of all the points from the Finance Minister’s speech
- Benefits under DBT
The 1.7 trillion plan to help poor and migrant workers
Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday went on to announce Rs. 1.7 trillion stimulus plan to provide relief to the nation’s poor who are hit during the entire coronavirus lockdown. This plan will be implemented through direct cash transfers. This relief plan includes payments to farmers, free cooking gas for three months, state-sponsored contributions to retirement funds, and insurance covers for all medical workers fighting the novel virus.
The plan is divided into two parts- cash and food transfers- to help benefit the poor and migrant workers in light of the 21 day lockdown period. The finance minister claimed that around two million health care workers would benefit from the insurance cover under this plan. She went on to add- “We do not want anyone to remain hungry, so we will be giving enough to take care of their foodgrain requirement, protein requirement in terms of pulses,”
The finance minister had already made a few important announcements on Tuesday. These included extended tax deadlines, relaxing minimum balance rule for the savings account, and an increased edge of insolvency filling to Rs. One crore from Rs. One lakh.
Here is a summary comprising of all the essential points made by the FM in her speech –
1. PM Gareeb Kalian scheme has a total budget of 1.7 lakh crore. It has two parts- cash transfers and food security.
2. An insurance cover of Rs. 50 lakh for medical staff- doctors, nurses, ASHA workers, sanitation workers, paramedics.
3. 5 kg of rice or wheat has already been distributed. And another 5kg of rice or wheat and one kg of pulses as per choice per person is to be distributed to 80 crore Indians.
Benefits under DBT
1. The first installment of Rs. 2000 under PM Kisan will be given to farmers in the starting weeks of April.
2. MNREGA- increase in wages from Rs. 182 to Rs. 202. This is aimed to help around five crore people.
3. Old age/widows- the amount of Rs. 1000 for the next three months will be given in 3 installments. This will benefit three crore widows in India.
4. Jan Dhan account holders – an amount of Rs. 500 for the next three months and is aimed to help 20 crores, Indian women.
5. Women Ujjawala scheme – free cylinders to be provided for three months to benefit 8.3 crores BPL families.
6. Under the deen Dayal national livelihood mission, a collateral loan of up to 20 lakh will be disbursed to women’s self-help groups.
7. Organized sector- GOI will pay EPF contribution for the next three months. The EPF contribution of both the employer ad eh employee forming a total of 24% will be considered. This is valid only for establishments with 100 employees and where 90 percent of them earn 15k or less.
8. EPFO regulation has been mended for the organized sector where workers can withdraw up to 75 percent of their emergency expenditure or three months of advanced wages, whichever is less. 4.8 cr workers will benefit out of it.
9. State governments have been ordered to make use of the welfare fund fr buildings and construction laborers, which is up to 31,000 crores to hep those construction workers who are in need during these distressing times.
10. The district mineral fund to be utilized for testing purposes, medical screening, and other health attention required to stop the spread of the pandemic.
Under this plan, approximately 800 million needy people in India will be benefitted.
The finance minister has been clear about the motive behind this plan and said-
“On the other hand, they (migrant workers) should also not remain without money in hand. So several measures through DBT are being taken so that money reaches them so that they can have money in their hands.”
Another relief package is expected to be released by the government in the upcoming weeks. Meanwhile, the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) lobby group has sought a three-month moratorium on all loans and announced that all repayment obligations would stand suspended for the period. Along with the following measures, the PM has also requested the setting up of a special economic task force that will be headed by the FM. The Union Minister, Prakash Javedkar, too announced the support of the central government in aiding various state governments to lessen the worries of the poor.
Meanwhile, State governments have also been doing the needful. The Maharashtra state government announced Rs. 20 crore tranche to provide groceries and other daily supplies to construction workers who have already stopped working with effect from Sunday.
These bunch of measures taken by the Government of India will support all those struggling financially during the distressing coronavirus pandemic, which has engulfed the entire world and the economies of several nations.