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Nirmala Sitharaman announces Rs 1.7 lakh crore relief package for poor: Here's all you need to know

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has launched a 1.7 lakh crore relief package for the poor to ease their economic distress. She has also assured that all the banking services will continue unhindered during the lockdown.
Mar 30, 2020 12:42 IST
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Nirmala Sitharaman
Nirmala Sitharaman

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has assured that all the banking services will continue unhindered during the lockdown. Finance Minister tweeted, 'Had a detailed conversation with chiefs of Banks-public & private. Encouraging to know that they are doing their best, even during the lockdown. They are certain that they’ll ensure customer service without disruption. Social distancing is being adhered to as well.' It must be noted that in the wake of coronavirus, Prime Minister Modi announced a 21 days countrywide lockdown. However, essential services will be provided to the people. 

On Thursday,  Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has launched a 1.7 lakh crore relief package for the poor to ease their economic distress. The relief package will primarily focus on the migrant labourers and daily wage labourers. Previously, Sitharaman announced the extension of tax deadlines, reduction in minimum balance for the savings account, etc. due to the COVID-19 and the 21 days complete lockdown as announced by Prime Minister Modi. Below we have listed what Finance Minister Sitharaman has announced under 1.7lakh crore relief package. 

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday announced that under the PM Gareeb Kalyan Yojna (PMGKY) at least 80 crore poor people will be covered. PM Gareeb Kalyan Yojna (PMGKY) will provide food security as well as cash transfer to the poor people. 

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1- Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojna (PM-Kisan): 

Under PM Kisan, income support of INR 6000 per year is provided to all farmer families across the country in three equal instalments of INR 2000 each every four months. 

Finance Minister Sitharaman has announced that the first instalment of INR 2000 will be given in the first week of April. Around 8.69 crore farmers will get the immediate relief amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

2- Public Distribution System Scheme: 

Under the Public Distribution System Scheme a government-sponsored chain of shops entrusted with the work of distributing basic food and non-food commodities to the needy sections of the society at very cheap prices.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has announced that over and above 5kg of rice/wheat that is already given, another 5 kg per person will be given free through PDS. Besides this, one kg of preferred and region-specific choice of the pulse will also be given. Around 80 crore people will benefit under this announcement. 

3- Insurance Cover of INR 50 Lakhs: 

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has also announced that insurance cover will be provided worth INR 50 lakh for sanitation workers, ASHA workers, doctors, nurses, paramedics in case they need it as they are on the frontlines of the corona battle.

4- Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA): 

Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA) is an employment scheme introduced by UPA government which guarantees a minimum of 100 days paid work in a financial year to all the families whose adult members opt for unskilled labour-intensive work.

Finance Minister Sitharaman has announced an increase in wage rate from INR 182 to INR 202. This increase in the wage rate will amount to INR 2000 per worker. Around 5 crore people will be benefited under this scheme. 

5- Ex gratia to Senior Citizens and Widows:

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has also announced an ex gratia (as a favour) of INR 1,000 for the next three months to the widows and senior citizens in two instalments. This will benefit around 3 crore widows and senior citizens in the country. 

6- Women Account Holders of PM Jan Dhan Yojna (PMJDY):

Pradhan Mantri Jan-Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) provides access to financial services in an affordable manner. The Account can be opened in any bank branch with Zero balance. 

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman the Women account holders only will get an ex gratia of INR 500 every month for the next three months. Around 20 crore women will be benefited under this fund. 

7- Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY):

Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana(PMUY) for providing LPG connections to 5 crore women belonging to the Below Poverty Line (BPL) families over a period of 3 years starting from Financial Year 2016-17 to provide clean cooking fuel solution to poor households especially in rural areas. 

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced free cylinders for three months under this scheme. This will benefit around 8.3 crore BPL families.

8- Deen Dayal Livelihood Mission: 

Deen Dayal Livelihood Mission aims at creating efficient and effective institutional platforms for poor people and enables them to increase household income through sustainable livelihood enhancements and improved access to financial services. 

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced that under this scheme women self-help group will be provided with a collateral-free loan up to INR 20 lakhs (earlier it was INR 10 lakhs). Around 7 crore women will be benefited under this. 

9- Organised Sector: 

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has announced that the GOI will bear the cost of EPF contribution of both employer and employee which sums to 24% for the next three months. However, this relief is only for the establishments having up to 100 employees where 90% of the employees earn less than INR 15,000. This will benefit around 4.8 crore employees. 

10- Organised Sector (EPFO): 

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that the GOI is ready to amend the regulation of EPF due to the coronavirus pandemic and has announced that the workers can draw up to 75% non-refundable advance from credit in PF account or 3 months salary, whichever is lower. Around 4.8 crore workers will be benefitted. 

11- Construction Workers: 

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has directed the state governments to use the funds for the welfare of building & construction labourers to ease their economic disruption due to the lockdown. 

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As the world is going through a global pandemic, the government of India has taken several measures to contain the spread of the novel disease. After PM Modi announced a country wide-lockdown for 21 days, the daily wage workers would have been affected. Therefore, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has announced a 1.7 lakh crore relief package for the poor to ease their economic distress. 

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