Congress leader Rahul Gandhi backed the Rs 1.7 lakh crore stimulus package announced by the Modi government saying it was the "first step in the right direction". Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday outlined the package to tide over the impact of the coronavirus outbreak and the subsequent three-week nationwide lockdown.
The stimulus plan includes direct cash transfers and food security measures aimed at giving relief to millions of poor hit by the coronavirus lockdown. India's economy, already on a downward trajectory since last year, is set to suffer more pain as the shutdown disrupts economic activity — from airlines ailing due to travel restrictions to construction activities hitting brakes.
Here's what Gandhi tweeted:
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Addressing the press briefing Nirmala Sitharaman said, "The government has been working such that those affected — the disadvantaged of society — will have to be reached out to with tangible help. We have come with a package that will come to the help of those who need it."
The Minister further announced that there will be Rs 50 lakh insurance per health care worker — ASHA workers, paramedics, doctors, nurses, sanitary workers, as a medical insurance cover for them for three months. Along with it, in addition to the already allotted five Kg of rice/wheat per person, an additional 5kg will be free for the poor. With this, an additional one kilogram of pulses according to the regional preference will be provided.
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Here is a breakdown of the plan:
- A package for poor who need immediate help like migrant workers and urban and rural poor. The package is worth Rs 1.7 lakh crore
- Insurance cover of 50 lakh rupees per person to for health professionals, the frontline CoronaWarriors - ASHA workers, paramedics, doctors, nurses, sanitary workers - who are putting their lives at risk & treating Coronavirus patients for three months.
- Each one in the Pradhan Manthri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana to get 5Kg (rice/wheat) each month for the next three months, over and above the 5Kg which is being already granted under the scheme. Additionally, one kg of preferred regional pulse for each household.
- For the next three months, in addition to already allotted 5Kg of rice/wheat per person, an additional 5kg will be free. An additional 1kg pulse (acc to regional preference) will be given.
- Also, Rs 2000 per worker wage rise in MGNREGA announced. The increase in MNREGA wage will be to Rs 202 a day from Rs 182. This will benefit 5 crore families.
- Over 8.69 crore farmers to be immediately benefited through Direct cash transfers under the PM Kisan Yojana to be given Rs 2000 front payment in the first week of April.
- Ex-gratia amount of Rs.1000 in two installments over the next three months to poor senior citizens, poor widows, and poor among the disabled.
- Poor senior citizens, poor widows, and the disabled will get an ex-gratia one-time amount of Rs 1,000 in two installments through DBT (hence no middlemen) over three months. This will benefit 3 crore poor senior citizens, widows and disabled.
- For 20 crore women "Jan Dhan" account holders, ex-gratia amount of Rs 500 per month for the next three months all payments will be made through DBT.
- Also, for 8.3 crores BPL families under the "Ujjwala Scheme", free LPG cylinders for the next three months.
- For 63 lakh women self-help groups will be given up to Rs 20 lakh collateral-free loan. This will benefit about 7 crore households. The existing benefit of Rs 10 lakh collateral-free loan under the Deen Dhayal scheme thus doubled.
- For the organised sector, Govt of India will pay the EPF contribution both of the employer and employee (12% each i.e overall 24%) for the next 3 months. This is only for those establishments which have up to 100 employees, where 90% of employees earning less than Rs 15000 per month.
- Provident Fund Scheme Regulations will be amended to allow the non-refundable advance of 75% of the amount standing to the credit of the person, or three months of wages, whichever is lower. This will benefit 4.8 crore workers.
- Directions will be given to State Governments to utilize the amount of Rs 31,000 crores lying in the Building and Construction Workers Welfare Fund to help 3.5 crores registered workers.
- Utilising District Mineral: Will request state govts to use funds to supplement and augment medical testing activities, screening activities, and other activities that are now necessary
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