FM Sitharaman announces Rs 1.7 lakh cr coronavirus aid package

TIL Desk/National/New Delhi/ Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharama on Thursday stated the government is planning to provide a relief package of Rs 1.7 lakh crore to the underprivileged, poor and migrant workers affected by the lockdown amid the coronavirus outbreak. The scheme has been named the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Scheme.

She also said that workers — like nurses, paramedics and sanitation staff — who were in the frontline of the war against the disease, will be provided medical insurance cover of Rs 50 lakh per person. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had on Tuesday announced a 21-day lockdown in the entire country effective from midnight to deal with the spread of coronavirus, saying that “social distancing” is the only option to deal with the disease, which spreads rapidly.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday announced 5 kg of wheat or rice and one kg of preferred pulses free-of-cost every month for the next three months for 80 crore poor across the country to deal with the economic impact of the lockdown amid coronavirus outbreak.  As many of 20.5 crore women Jan Dhan Account holders will get Rs 500 per month for next three months to run their households.  For poor senior citizens, widow and disabled will get an ex-gratia of Rs 1,000.

Also, the daily wage under MNREGA has been increased to Rs 202 a day from Rs 182 to benefit 5 crore workers.  The minister said the government will front-load Rs 2,000 payment to farmers in the first week of April under the existing PM Kishan Yojana to benefit 8.69 crore farmers.  Also, the beneficiaries of Ujjwala LPG scheme will get free cooking gas for the next three months, she said.  This forms part of the Rs 1.70 lakh crore Gramin Kalyan package.

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