Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman

New Delhi: Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday announced a financial package of Rs 1.70 lakh crore called Prime Minister Gareeeb Kalyan Scheme. This comes in 36 hours after India imposed a nationwide lockdown in the wake of coronavirus pandemic.

Addressing a press conference, Sitharaman said that the relief package aims to benefit farmers, migrant workers, urban and rural poor, women, persons with disabilities, etc.

The finance minister said that medical insurance of Rs 50 lakh for the next three months will be provided to healthcare workers. She also made a number of measures to deal with the economic distress:

  • Under Prime Minister Gareeb Kalyan Ann Scheme, 5 kg of rice or wheat per month will be given for the next 3 months in addition to the 5 kg they already get through PDS. 80 crore people will benefit from this. Also, according to regional preference, 1 kg of prefered pulse (dal) will be given for the next 3 months.
  • Farmers will receive Rs 6,000 per annum through the PM-KISAN scheme. The first instalment will be given upfront. Around 8.69 crore farmer will get immediate benefit out of this.
  • Wage increased in MNREGA from Rs 182 to Rs 202. It will give an additional income of around Rs 2,000 to each worker
  • Ex gratia amount of Rs 1000 will be given to elderly and widows for the next three months
  • Rs 500 will be transferred for 3 months to Women Jan Dhan account holders. Around 20.5 crore will benefit from this
  • Those under Ujjwala Scheme will get 3 free cylinders for the next 3 months. This is expected to benefit 8.3 crore BPL families
  • There are 63 lakh women SHGs which benefit 7 crore household. They will now get collateral-free loans upto ₹20 lakh instead of present ₹ 10 Lakh
  • Government to pay the EPF contribution of both employer & employee (12% + 12%) for next 3 months for those establishments which have upt0 100 employees, of which 90% draw less than Rs 15,000 per month.
  • Provident scheme regulations will be amendment to allow non-refundable advance of 75% or three months’ wages, whichever is lower. This will benefit 4.8 crore workers who are registered with the EPF
  • There is a welfare fund of building and other construction workers welfare. It has about Rs 31,000 crore with 3.5 crore registered workers. We intend to give directions to the state government to utilise this fund to protect these workers against any economic disruption caused due to this particular lockdown
  • Request state govt to utilise the funds under District Mineral Fund for medical screening and testing activities, etc, so that providing of health attention will not suffer

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