Centre announces coronavirus stimulus package; promises cash transfer, food provision

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Mar 26, 2020, 01.41 PM(IST)

Nirmala Sitaraman Photograph:( ANI )

Story highlights

To combat the economic impact of the 21-day nationwide lockdown on the poor, the Narendra Modi government today announced a Rs 1.7 lakh crore Prime Minister Gareeb Kalyan Yojana.

In the backdrop of coronavirus outbreak and subsequent lockdown, the Centre has come up with a Rs 1.70 lakh crore relief package for the daily wage earners, women workers and migrant workers as the country remains in a 21-day lockdown period.

"A package is ready for the poor who need immediate help like migrant workers and urban and rural poor. No one will go hungry. The package is worth Rs 1.70 lakh crore,"  said Union minister.
 

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The finance minister had already announced some measures on Tuesday that included an extension of tax deadlines, easing minimum balance norms for the savings account, and increasing threshold of insolvency filing to Rs 1 crore from Rs 1 lakh.

Here are the highlights of the stimulus package announced by the government: 

  • Govt's economic package includes relief for daily wage workers.
     
  • Govt announces medical insurance cover of Rs 50 lakh medical cover per person for the government's sanitation workers, ASHA workers, doctors, paramedics, others if they need it. The scheme is to benefit 20 lakh, such workers.
     
  • 5 kg of rice or wheat will be given for free for the next three months under the Pradhanmantri Garib Kalyan Yojana besides, 1 kg pulse available regionally will also be given for free to 80 crore people. 
     
  • Provident Fund(EPF) contribution, both employer and employee, put together it will be 24%, this will be for the next 3 months. This is for those establishments which have up to 100 employees and 90% of them earn less than 15,000.
     
  • For women: 20.5 crore women account holder of Jan Dhan Yojana to get Rs. 500/month for next 3 months | For next 3 months under Ujjwala Yojana, beneficiaries to get gas cylinders 4 free | 60 lakh, women, under self-help group (SHG) to get a collateral-free loan up to Rs 20 lakh.
     
  • Centre asks states to utilise Rs 31,000 crore fund to benefit construction workers to benefit 3.5 crores, such workers.
     
  • On a question related to fiscal deficit and market borrowings, FM Sitharaman said that at this stage, we are more concerned about reaching out to people who need help.
     
  • Government asks state governments to utilise the district mineral fund healthcare facility amid coronavirus scare. 

India has entered Day 2 of the 21-day nationwide lockdown over the highly contagious Covid-19, which has infected over 650 in the country. Today, leaders of G20 nations will hold a summit via video conference to discuss measures to protect the global economy amid the coronavirus pandemic, which has so far claimed 21,200 lives globally and infected 471,363.