With the intention of enabling marginalized and vulnerable sections of the society to get over the impact of national lockdown announced due to COVID-19 pandemic, the Union Finance Ministry on Thursday announced a slew of relief measures.
This will be a relief package worth Rs 1.70 lakh crores, the Finance Minister said.
The highlights from the joint press briefing made by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Minister of State Anurag Thakur are as follows :
- Rs 50 lakh medical insurance per person to all frontline medical workers (doctors, nurses, sanitation workers, Asha workers, para-medics etc) who are fighting COVID19 transmission.
- Each one in the Pradhan Manthri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana to get 5Kg (rice/wheat) each month for the next three month, over and above the 5Kg which is being already granted under the scheme. Additionally, one kg of preferred regional pulse for each household. About 80 crore poor persons covered under this scheme.
- 8.69 crore farmers under the PM Kisan Yojana to be given Rs 2000 front payment in first week of April.
- Rs 2000 per worker wage rise in MGNREGA announced. This will benefit 5 crore families.
- Ex-gratia amount of Rs.1000 in two installments over next three months to poor senior citizens, poor widows, and poor among the disabled.
- For 20 crore women "Jan Dhan" account holders, ex-gratia amount of Rs 500 per month for the next three months.
- For 8.3 crore BPL families under the "Ujjwala Scheme", free LPG cylinders for the next three months.
- 63 lakh women self-help groups will be given up to Rs 20 lakh collateral free loan. This will benefit about 7 crore households. The existing benefit of Rs 10 lakh collateral-free loan under the Deen Dhayal scheme thus doubled.
- For the organized sector, Govt of India will pay the EPF contribution both of the employer and employee (12% each) for the next 3 months. This is only for those establishments which have up to 100 employees, where 90% of employees are earning less than Rs 15,000 per month.
- Provident Fund Scheme Regulations will be amended to allow non-refundable advance of 75% of the amount standing to the credit of the person, or three months of wages, whichever is lower. This will benefit 4.8 crore workers.
- Directions will be given to State Governments to utilize the amount of Rs 31,000 crores lying in the Building and Construction Workers Welfare fund to help 3.5 crore registered workers.
- Directions will be given to State Governments to utilize the funds under the District Mineral Workers fund.
Finance Minister said that the Government's immediate concern was to ensure that no one starves during this period, and that the poorest of the poor would not suffer due to lockdwon.
On Tuesday, the Ministry had extended the deadlines for tax filings and compliance under the Companies Act.