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COVID FightBack: India announces ₹1.7-tn stimulus package

Mar '20
Nirmala Sitharaman addressing the press conference. Pic: YouTube/PIB
Nirmala Sitharaman addressing the press conference. Pic: YouTube/PIB
Indian finance minister Nirmana Sitharaman today announced a ₹1.7-trillion economic stimulus package under the PM Gareeb Kalyan Scheme to help the poor and migrants tackle the difficulties due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the 21-day nationwide lockdown. The immediate focus is on alleviating hardships of migrant workers, urban and rural poor, she said.

The measures include direct cash transfers under the Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) scheme and food security-related steps aimed at offering relief to the poor workers hit by the lockdown.

"No one will go hungry," she emphasised while announcing the package.

Medical insurance cover of ₹50 lakh per person was announced for those on the frontline of the fight against COVID-1—doctors, nurses and sanitation workers.

In the organised sector, the government will pay Provident Fund contribution for both the employee and employer for the next three months for small companies that have up to 100 employees and 90 per cent of whom earn less than ₹15,000 per month.

Each household will receive 5 kg of rice or wheat per month free, in addition to the existing 5 kg. In addition, the household will also get 1 kg of preferred dal for free for the next three months.

Direct cash transfer scheme was announced for eight categories, which includes pensioners, women and the specially-abled. Farmers will received the first instalment of ₹2,000 of PM Kisan scheme in the first week of April. Wages under the Mahatma Gandhi National Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA) will be increased from ₹182 to ₹202 and women holding Jan Dhan account will get an ex-gratia amount of ₹500 per month for the next three months.

Women in self-help groups will get up to ₹10 lakh collateral-free loans under the Deen Dayal Upadhyaya National Rural Mission scheme. And the cap has been doubled to ₹20 lakh.

Fibre2Fashion News Desk (DS)

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