FM announces 1.7 lakh crore relief fund in a bid to help poor amid corona crisis
On Thursday, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitaraman announced an emergency relief fund of 1.7 lakh crore rupees to aid the poor and need, hit the harder amid the ongoing corona crisis.
In a news briefing, while announcing the stimulus package Ms. Sitharaman said, “We do not want anyone to remain hungry, so we will be giving them enough to take care of food grain requirements and protein requirements, in terms of pulses.”
FM said that the relief package was designed keeping in mind the welfare concerns of the ones belonging to the lowest strata of society including daily wage earners, construction workers, rickshaw pullers and many more.
So far India has recorded 649 corona confined cases with 13 death. To prevent the figure from increasing rapidly Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday ordered a 21-day lockdown urging the country with a population of 1.3 billion to stay in their houses. Centre ordered the state government to enforce the lockdown very strictly.
Lockdown gave way to several challenges including liquidity in the system, availability and pricing of necessary items, medicines and funds to keep the poor households running. To wipe out these hurdles the government announced ‘Gareeb Kalyan Ann Yojana’ under which it would distribute 5 kilograms of staple food grains wheat or rice for each person free of cost, with a kilogram of pulses for every low-income family, aiming to feed about 800 million poor people over the next three months.
The government also declared that it would give cooking gas cylinders for free to 83 million poor families, in addition to direct cash transfers to 200 million women and the elderly, over a similar period.
Besides, the government announced a medical insurance plan of 5 million rupees ($66,000) for every frontline health worker, including doctors, nurses, paramedics and others related to sanitary services. The government’s massive package also included funding employees working in small firms, covering 48 million workers, by putting money in their Employees’ Provident Fund.