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FM Announces Rs 1.7 Lakh Cr Relief Package

This would go to those directly affected by COVID-19 lockdown

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Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced an economic package that will benefit migrant workers, urban and rural poor on March 26. This economic package will be known as the 'Prime Minister Gareeb Kalyan Scheme' and it will be worth Rs 1.76 lakh crore. It would entail with both cash transfer and food security.

"A package is ready for the poor who need immediate help like migrant workers and urban and rural poor. No one will go hungry," the FM said while making the announcement.

There will be Rs 50 lakh insurance per health care worker as a medical insurance cover for them for three months. "Hopefully, we would be able to contain the virus in this period," she said.

As part of the economic package, in addition to already allotted 5Kg of rice/wheat per person, an additional 5kg will be free, the FM said.  "Additional 1kg pulse (as per the regional preference) will also be given, she added. This move is expected to cover 2/3rd of India population equaling around 80 crore people.

As per the announcement, 8 specific group of people will be addressed under the direct cash transfer scheme. These will include farmers, MGNREGA beneficiaries, poor widows, poor divyang, women having Jan Dhan Yojana accounts and women under Ujjwala yojana, women in SHGs, women under EPFO, construction workers.

There will also be a wage increase in MGNREGA, a move that will benefit around 5 crore families. There will be an increase of Rs 2000 per worker on average as additional income, the FM said.

The FM also announced an ex gratia amount of Rs 500 per month for the next three months to be paid to 20 crore Jan Dhan Women account holders. Around 3 crore Old age, Divyang, pensioners would also get a one-time amount of additional Rs 1000 in two installments through DBT (hence no middlemen). This would be spread over the next 3- months.

The 3.5 crore workers registered as building and construction workers will also be benefited. Central government said it has given orders to State governments to use fund (Rs 31,000 crore) to provide relief to them.

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nirmala sitharaman COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak