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COVID-19, 1.70 Lakh Crore RELIEF YOJANA PACKAGE: Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Relief Yojana announced by the Finance Minister Nirmala Seetharaman.

It is very imperative that the government brings back the country’s economy on right track. The 21 day lockdown due to the Coronavirus crisis brings the Government to a platform to announce a relief package for the poor and migrant workers in the country.  These measures we hope are quite effective to tackle the challenges posed by the Corona pandemic. 

The Finance Minister Nirmala Seetharaman announced the relief package today and this package has two parts — cash transfer and food security. Covid-19 package is to take care of the welfare concerns of the poor and migrant workers who have been suffering because of a nationwide lockdown. Insurance cover for healthcare workers attending to Covid-19 patients: Rs 50 lakh per person and Two million health workers to benefit from the insurance scheme.

1.Under Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana:  

Already 800 million poor people in the country is  to get 5 kg of rice/wheat per month free of cost, in addition to the 5 kg they already get. Additionally, each household to get 1 kg of preferred dal for free for the next three months. Each farmer would be given Rs 2000 during the month of April 2020.It would cover 8.7 crore farmers and Rs 16000 crores would be distributed to them 

2.Cash transfers under Pradhan Mantri Gareeb Kalyan Yojana: 

Help to poor 

A total of 20.40 crores PMJDY women account holders would be given an ex-gratia of  Rs 500 per month for the next three months. This will help them to run their household during this difficult period. Under Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana. For this purpose, the Government of India will spend Rs 31000 crores. Under PM Garib Kalyan Yojana, gas cylinders, free of cost, would be provided to 8 crore poor families for the next three months. Three gas cylinders would be provided during this period.Rs.13000 crores would be provided for this purpose. 

For the Farmers, the First installment of the PM-KISAN payment of Rs 2,000 to be frontloaded; and this could be a move to benefit 87 million. In MGNREGS the Wage increased from Rs 182 to Rs 202 per day. Wage increase to benefit 50 million families, as there will be about 2000 increase in their income. Poor widows, aged, and divyang will get an Ex-gratia of Rs 1,000 for the next three months, in two installments. 30 million people to benefit. Transfers to be done through direct benefits transfer (DBT).

Women with Jan Dhan Yojana accounts: 200 million to benefit from Rs 500 ex-gratia for the next 3 months. Beneficiaries of the Ujjwala scheme: 80 million households benefit from the gas cylinders provided under the scheme. These beneficiaries will get free cylinders for three months in view of the disruption the coronavirus lockdown will cause. 

Women in self-help groups: 6.3 million SHGs get up to Rs 10 lakh collateral-free loans under the Deen Dayal Upadhyaya National Rural Mission scheme. The cap has been doubled to Rs 20 lakh. The move will benefit 70 million households. 

Regarding Organised sector workers: First, the Government of India will pay the EPF contribution of both employee and employer for the next three months. This will be for all those establishments which have up to 100 employees, 90 percent of whom earn less than Rs 15,000 a month. And second, in what will benefit 8 million employees and 400,000 establishments, the EPFO regulation will be amended to allow the withdrawal of up to 75 percent of their corpus as non-refundable advance, or three months' salary, whichever is less 

Regarding Construction workers: The States are directed to utilize the Rs 31,000 crore welfare fund for building and construction workers for the benefit of 35 million workers in the midst of the coronavirus  

District mineral funds: The State is to be urged to utilize this fund for medical screening, medical testing and providing health care services in the wake of the coronavirus crisis. 

We were in a discussion with MAKAAM and the Emerging analysis that came out of the Yojana is that the total allocation of about 50 K Cr is a support for the poor. The rest is mainly health insurance which is 56 K and the remaining amounts are for MNREGA not as an advance payment but towards work. It is unlikely that work on MNREGA would happen for the next 2 months. From the information we are gathering is that the government doesn’t want the laborers to collect at one point for the fear of the coronavirus. The allocation is not new and neither has they increased the beneficiaries so women not included if they are not landowning and fit into the earlier criteria. If they have Jan Dhan accounts they will get Rs 500 as part of DBT and that is what it says in general says Seema from MAKAAM, Maharashtra. MAKAAM study shows that many do not have job cards and many are daily wagers. THE DHG doubling of collateral from 10 Lakhs to 20 Lakhs is a benefit for banks and cannot be considered as a support for women. 

Let's hope things will work out smoothly, but things would definitely take some time. 



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