The union government has announced a lockdown package of 1.7 lakh crore in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It will provide free food and cash transfers to support the poorest citizens who are most vulnerable during this crisis.
80 Crore poor citizens would be given double god grain ration for the next three months (5 kg wheat and 1 kg preferred pulses for every month for the next three months).
The health workers including ASHA (Accredited Social Health Activist) workers, medical sanitary workers in government hospitals, paramedics, nurses and doctors who are fighting against COVID-19 at personal risk would be given Rs 50 lakh medical insurance cover.
In the meanwhile, lockdown will create some breathing space for the seriousness of the situation of nature and build a positive attitude towards nature. Even, it will advance the medical phases at the next level.
Features of the Economic Relief Package announced by the Finance Minister
The Finance Minister (Nirmala Sitharaman) announced the Rs. 1.70 Lakh Crore Package under the Pradhan Mantri Gareeb Kalyan Yojana, Targeting 80 crore poor citizens
(a) For the next three months, each person will get 5 kg wheat or rice for free, in addition to 5 kg per month that is being already given under PDS. Under this scheme, 1 Kg of pulses will be provided per household, according to regional preferences.
(b) Cash transfers, based on direct benefit transfer, will be given to farmers, MGNREGA workers, poor widows, pensioners and disabled people, women with Jan Dhan Yojana accounts, women beneficiaries under Ujjwala scheme, women self-help groups, organised sector workers, construction workers, district mineral fund.
(c) States has been asked to use the Building and Construction Workers Welfare Fund to Provide relief to the construction workers and the first instalments of Rs 2,000 under the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Yojana will be frontloaded to reach 87 million in April.
(d) The MGNREGA Workers wages have been increased Rs. 202 from Rs. 182 per day for 13.62 families. Social distancing norms must be followed at working sites of MGNREGA during this period.
(e) The government has decided to give the Ex-Gratia of Rs. 1,000 to poor pensioners, widows and disabled among poor. It is expected that 3 crore poor people above 60 years will get the benefit from it.
(f) 20.4 crore Jan Dhan women Accounts holders will get Rs. 500 per month for the next three months. So, that they can run their household affairs.
(g) For the beneficiaries of Ujjwala scheme who were given free gas connections, govt will give free gas cylinders for three months. It will benefit from 8.3 crores BPL families.
(h) For organised sector workers, the Centre will pay EPF contribution of both employer and employee (total of 24%) for the next three months. This is for establishments up to 100 employees, of which 90% earn less than ₹15,000 per month.
(i) The Finance Minister said she will ask state governments to use money available under district mineral funds to use for medical screening, testing and treatment.
(j) We are conscious of the impact this will have on banks, as people will need to access their cash transfers. Banks and bank branches, ATMs, banking correspondents are all essential services and will continue to work during the lockdown.