Corona Virus: Rs 1.7 lakh cr economic relief package announced by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman

16/Apr/2020
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The epidemic of Covid-19 Corona Virus has created a hostile situation in the whole world. Every nation is fighting for sustaining its health and finance sector from morbidity and cessation respectively. Government is announcing relief packages to support the people of their nation from this destitute time.

The Government of India is also supporting the people of India through financial relief funds and other food as well as financial aids. Lately, the Finance Minister Mrs. Nirmala Sitaraman had announced a relaxation on the final dates of GST return filing, Aadhaar-PAN linking etc. and has fixed the final date for submitting the same as June 30, 2020 in her last meeting. On the context of the pandemic and the situation getting even worse than expected, the Finance Minister called for an urgent meeting on March 26, 2020 and offered a relief package of Rs.1.7 Lakh Cr for the poor under the ‘PM Garib Kalyan Yojana’ scheme.

The Finance Minister is addressing the media for the second time within the matter of a week in the context of fighting the impact our nation is facing due to the pandemic. Mrs. Nirmala on March 26, 2020 (Thursday) made the following announcements:

Health Infrastructure:

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced Rs.15000 Cr for fortifying the health infrastructure of India. The fund will be utilized for improving the health infrastructure of the country, increasing the number of beds and test kits and in addition to all, training professionals to fight the spread of diseases caused by Corona Virus.

Government also comes up with a welfare package for the poor and the immediate help seekers among migrant workers. The Finance Minister also gratefully addressed the ASHA workers, doctors, sanitary workers, Para-medics and other health workers and has also announced an insurance coverage of Rs.50 lakhs per person.

Cash in Hand:

  • Rs.2000 will be transferred in the first week of April to 87 million farmers under ‘Kisan Yojana’ through Direct Cash Transfers.
  • Women who have accounts in ‘Women Jan Dhan’ will receive a sum of Rs.500 for the next three months for taking care of their households.
  • Ex-gratia of Rs.1000 granted for poor senior citizens, widows and disabled.
  • Collateral loans to be doubled to Rs.20 Lakh for women listed under National Rural Livelihood Mission scheme.

Food Security:

  • Women under ‘Ujjwala’ Scheme will be given free cylinders for the next three months which is expected to benefit a total of 8.3 Cr BPL families
  • There will be free distribution of 5kg of rice or wheat (per person) for the needy
  • 1 kg free dhal for household per person has been granted for the next 3 months

Organized Sector:

  • For establishments with 100 employees where 90% earn less than Rs.15000 per month, government will pay EPF for both employee and employer for the next 3months.
  • The PF regulation scheme has been amended which will benefit around 4.8 Cr workers. According to the amendment, non-refundable advance of 75% of amount standing to credit or 3 months wages, whichever is lower, can be drawn by the employee.

Construction Workers:

• Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) to Construction Workers: Rs.52000 Cr of Cess fund will be utilized for providing relief to the construction workers through DBT. The Ministry of Labours made the announcement that would benefit around 3.5 Cr construction workers who have listed with construction welfare board.
Rs.31000 Cr is sanctioned to be utilized from Workers Welfare Fund for the benefit of construction workers.
State Governments have been directed to use District Mineral Funds for medical activities.

The Finance Minister after this latest press conference announcement added that these measures have been taken for those who have urgent need of food, money and cooking gas. The Minister said that these measures will be implemented straightaway.

The government has also expressed their concern about the pressure banks will have to face due to all the DBTs announced. The FM also said that banks have been exempted from the lockdown and have been categorized and declared as ‘essential services’ which means banks will be fully operational.

The declarations made by the Finance Minister Mrs. Nirmala Sitaraman will be a temporary relief for the coronavirus-hit economy of the nation. The industries and workers are looking onto the package as relieving factors during the 21 days lockdown declared by the Prime Minster of India. 

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