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COVID-19: FM Sitharaman announces mega package for health workers, farmers, poor people

COVID-19: FM Sitharaman announces mega package for health workers, farmers, poor people

India Blooms News Service | @indiablooms | 26 Mar 2020, 03:07 pm

New Delhi/IBNS: Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday came out with a mega package of Rs. 1,70,000 crore under "Pradhan Mantri Gareeb Kalyan Scheme" to support health workers, poor people, farmers, women and other marginalised sectors as the country is in lockdown mode to combat COVID-19.

Sitharaman, seated beside her junior minister Anurag Thakur, announced an insurance for all health workers "who are fighting from the front line" to combat COVID-19.

Each health worker will get an insurance of Rs. 50 lakh for the next three months.

Announcing that all poor people will get five kg of wheat or rice and one kg of dal for free for the next three months, Sitharaman said, "We have taken the steps so that no one remains hungry."

Sitharaman said eight lakh farmers will get Rs. 2,000 to their bank accounts.

She has also announced a wage increase from Rs. 182 to Rs. 202 for all MNREGA workers. 

One-time ex-gratia of additional Rs. 1000 will be given to poor senior citizens who are widowed and disabled.

"Almost three crore people will benefited from the ex-gratia," said Ministry of State for Finance Thakur.

"Women Jan Dhan account holders will be getting an ex-gratia amount of Rs. 500 per month for the next three months," said Sitharaman and added, "This will benefit 20 crore women."

Nearly eight crore BPL families who avail Ujjwala scheme will get free gas cylinders for the next three months. "This is expected to benefit 8.3 crore BPL families," said the Finance Minister.

"Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana" was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2016 to distribute 50 million LPG connections to women of BPL families.

Announcement for organised sector

Sitharaman said, "Govt of India will pay the EPF contribution of both of the employer and employee (24 per cent together) for the next three months so that nobody suffers. This is for all companies which have up to 100 employees with 90 per cent of them drawing less than Rs. 15,000 as salaries each."

"The EPF scheme regulations will be amended to allow workers to draw non-refundable advance of 75% from credit in PF a/c or three months' salary, whichever is lower. This will benefit 4.8 crore who are registered with the EPF," she said.

Announcement for construction workers

For construction workers, Sitharaman wanted the state government to utilise the welfare fund of Rs. 31,000 for building and construction workers.

She said, "We intend to give direction to the state governments to protect the construction workers from any economic disruptions."

"Due to the lockdown, many building and construction workers are at home. So they may be feeling the economic disruption. So I want the state government to utilise the welfare fund of Rs. 31,000 crore for building and construction workers to help them," Sitharaman said.

Announcement for Mineral Fund

"We will request the state governments to utilise the District Mineral Fund for medical activities and testing activities so that the health attention will not suffer," said the Finance Minister.

"The package will come into effect immediately," said Sitharaman.

(Image Credit: BJP Twitter)

COVID-19: FM Sitharaman announces mega package for health workers, farmers, poor people

India Blooms News Service
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