India

Finance Minister announces 1.7 lakh crore package

New Delhi: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced on Thursday a major relief package of Rs 1.7 lakh crore during the lockdown period amid coronavirus crisis.

“The government has been working to reach out to women, migrant workers, and the disadvantaged section of the society. We have come out with a package that will address concerns of these people. We are looking at two aspects: Cash transfer and food security related measures,” Sitharaman said at a press conference.

“We don’t want anyone to remain hungry, or without money. So we will be giving enough,” she added announcing Rs 1,70,000 crore relief package for urban and rural poor.

In addition to already allotted 5 kg of rice/wheat per person,an additional 5kg will be free. Additional 1kg pulse (according to regional preference) will be provided.

8.69 crore farmers to be immediately benefited through Direct cash transfers. Installment of Rs 2000 in the first week of April will be transferred.

“There will be Rs 50 lakh insurance per health care worker as a medical insurance cover for them for three months. Hopefully, we would be able to contain the virus in this period,” she said.

For poor widows/pensioners/divyang, one-time ex-gratia additional support of Rs 1000 announced. This will be given through direct benefit transfer (DBT) in two installments in three months. This will benefit three crore widows, pensioners and divyang.

Those under Ujjwala scheme, nearly 8.3 crore BPL families, who were benefited by the scheme, will be provided three cylinders for the next three months.

Government of India will pay the EPF contribution – both for employer (12%) and employee (12%) – for the next three months so that nobody suffers due to loss of continuity in the EPFO contribution. This is for all those establishments existing with 100 employees, and 90 per cent of who draw Rs 15,000 salary per month.

The second announcement will benefit 80 lakh employee – the EPFO scheme’s regulations will be amended to allow non-refundable advance of 75 per cent of the amount standing to the credit of the member (for contingency expenditure), or three-month wages, whichever is lower. This will benefit 4.8 crore workers.

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