In a bid to provide relief to the poor suffering financial hardship due to the nationwide lockdown, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced Thursday a Rs. 1.7 lakh crore relief package scheme, the Pradhan Mantri Gareeb Kalyan Yojana. The scheme is expected to benefit farmers, migrant workers, organised-sector workers, urban and rural poor, women, divyang, etc. who are finding it hard to meet their daily needs amid the 21 day-lockdown arising out of the coronavirus pandemic. The Pradhan Mantri Gareeb Kalyan Yojana is divided into two parts: The Pradhan Mantri Gareeb Kalyan Anna Yojana and the Cash Transfer Scheme.
Take a look at the slew of measures announced by the government to help the poor and the needy.
The government announced Rs 50 lakh medical insurance cover for every ASHA worker, sanitation worker, doctor, nurse, paramedic, etc. on the frontline of the Covid-19 battle.
Pradhan Mantri Gareeb Kalyan Anna Yojana
The government will provide 800 million poor people 5 kg of rice or wheat per month free of cost through the Public Distribution System. This will be in addition to the 5 kg of grains they already get. Besides, each household will get 1 kg of preferred and region-specific pulses for free for the next three months.
Cash Transfer Schemes
- In a relief to the organised sector workers, the government has announced to pay both the employees’ and employers’ EPF contributions for employees working in certain EPF-subscribed establishments. The benefit will be extended to only those establishments which employ up to 100 employees, 90% of whom earn less than Rs. 15,000 a month. The move is expected to benefit 400,000 such organisations and 80 lakh employees in the organised sector.
- The EPFO regulation will be amended to allow the withdrawal of up to 75% of the EPF corpus as a non-refundable advance, or three months’ salary, whichever is less. Currently, EPF subscribers can withdraw 75% of their PF balance only for specified purposes like housing, marriage, etc.
- The government announced wages of MNREGS workers will be increased from Rs 182 to Rs 202 per day. This is expected to benefit 50 million rural families.
- In a move that will benefit 87 million farmers of the country, government announced to give them the first instalment of the PM-KISAN payment of Rs 2,000 soon.
- Poor widows, aged, and divyang to get ex-gratia transfer of Rs 1,000 for the next three months. This will be done in two instalments through direct benefit transfer (DBT) and will benefit 30 million people.
- 20 crore women with Jan Dhan Yojana accounts to get Rs 500 ex-gratia for the next three months.
- Beneficiaries of the Ujjwala scheme will get free cylinders for three months in view of the disruption the coronavirus lockdown will cause.
- 63 crore women in self-help groups to get up to Rs. 20 lakh collateral-free loans under the Deen Dayal Upadhyaya National Rural Mission scheme. The cap has been doubled from Rs. 10 lakh and is expected to benefit 7 crore households.
- The government has asked states to utilise the Rs. 31,000 crore district mineral fund for building and construction workers. The funds will be used for medical screening, medical testing and providing healthcare services to 3.5 crore workers in the wake of coronavirus crisis.
On Tuesday, the government announced new deadlines for crucial financial tasks. Income tax returns filing date for a belated or delayed filing for Financial Year 2018-19 was extended to June 30, 2020. The interest that is levied for a delayed tax payment was also reduced to 9% from 12%.
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