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National News

Mar 27, 2020

Centre announces relief package worth Rs 1.7 lakh crore for poor

Union Government has announced a package of 1.7 lakh crore rupees for the poor who need immediate help in the wake of COVID-19 like migrant workers and urban and rural poor. Briefing media in New Delhi, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said they have come up with Prime Minister Gareeb Kalyan scheme to help the migrant and poor people. She also announced insurance cover of 50 lakh rupees per person for three months for COVID-19 warriors who are exposing themselves to the virus. They include doctors, paramedics, healthcare workers, sanitation workers, ASHA workers dealing with coronavirus outbreak.

The Finance Minister elaborated that 5 kilo rice or wheat will be given for the next three months for free in addition to the 5 kilos already being given to 80 crore people. Additionally, one kilo of  preferred pulses will also be given per family for free under Pradhan Mantri Anna Yojana.

Ms Sitharaman said, around 8.70 crore farmers will get 2,000 rupees in first week of April in their account under existing Prime Minister's Kisan Yojana. Besides, 20.5 crore women Jan Dhan Account holders will get  500 rupees per month for the next three months, while poor senior citizens, widows and disabled will get an ex- graita of  1,000 rupees.

Under Prime Minister's Garib Kalyan Yojana, MNREGA wages would be increased by 20 from 182 to 202 rupees with effect from 1st of next month. Wage increase under MNREGA will provide an additional  2,000 rupees benefit annually to a worker.This will benefit approximately 13.62 crore families. The government will contribute employees as well as employer's contribution to the provident fund for the next three months of companies with up to 100 employees with 90 per cent earning not more than 15,000 rupees. The contribution will be a total of 24 per cent of eligible wages.

Under UJJWALA scheme,  gas cylinders would be provided to eight crore poor families free of cost for the next three months. Senior citizens, widows and disabled will be given an ex-gratia of 1,000 rupees in two instalments over next three months. This will benefit three crore poor senior citizens, widows and Divyangs.  

Ms Sitharaman said, workers will be allowed to draw a non-refundable advance of 75 per cent from credit in provident fund account or three months salary, whichever is lower. She said, the limit of collateral-free loans to 63 lakh women self-held groups is being doubled to 20 lakh rupees. The State Government will be asked to utilize the funds available under District Mineral Fund  for supplementing and augmenting facilities of medical testing, screening and other requirements in connection with preventing the spread of COVID-19 pandemic as well as treating the patients affected with this pandemic.

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