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Free Grains For 2 Months; One Nation, One Ration Card: FM's Relief Package For Migrants

Promising free food supply for 2 months and affordable housing in cities, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced three measures to help migrant workers

Promising free food supply for two months and an affordable housing program for the poor in cities, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Wednesday announced three measures to help migrant workers tide over the loss of livelihood in the wake of the Coronavirus lockdown.

Unveiling the second tranche of a massive stimulus package pledged by the Modi government to rescue the Indian economy from the devastating fallout of the Coronavirus pandemic, Nirmala Sitharaman announced a package with nine measures for migrant workers, street vendors, small traders, the self-employed and small farmers.

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Free Food grain supply for 2 months

To address the issue of food security for millions of destitute migrants, the Finance Ministsre announced free foodgrain handouts to all migrants for the next two months. Those who do not carry Ration Card or other State PDS cards will be provided 5 kg of wheat/rice per person and 1 kg chana per family for the next two months.

Sitharaman said the measure will benefit eight crore migrants and the government will spend Rs 3,500 crore on the initiative. The State government will be responsible for the implementation of the program, identification of migrants, and full distribution.

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One Nation, One Ration Card

In a move to reform and modernize the Public Distribution System (PDS), FM Sitharaman has announced that 'One Nation One Ration Card' will be implemented under which any migrant beneficiary with a ration card can get his food provisions at any Fair Price store located anywhere in India. Sitharaman said the measure was part of PM Narendra Modi's technology-driven system reform.

The Minister said under this program, 67 crore beneficiaries (83% of all PDS beneficiaries) in 23 states will be covered by August this year and the Centre aims to ensure 100% coverage by March 2021. States and Union Territories will implement this automation drive.

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Affordable rental housing

Nirmala Sitharaman also announced plans to a scheme under PMAY for migrants and the poor in urban areas to provide affordable rental housing. In this, government-funded housing in cities will be converted into Affordable Rental Housing Complexes (ARHC) under a public-private partnership (PPP) model through the concessionaire.

Under the measure, industries employing the labour will be incentivized to develop ARHC on their private lands and operate. State and federal agencies will also be incentivized on similar lines.

"Urban poor can look forward to having some basic accommodation facilities," Sitharaman said.

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