8 big announcements made by Finance Minister in Covid-19 relief package

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday announced a relief package worth Rs 1.70 lakh crore for various sectors to help them tide over the coronavirus crisis.

She announced a series of measures for different sectors, especially the poor and vulnerable ones, and praised the doctors and nurses involved in treating the patients of Covid-19.

“We responded within 36 hours of the announcement of a lockdown,” said Sitharaman.

Here are some of the eight big announcements made by Sitharaman today under the Pradhan Mantri Gareeb Kalyan Yojana:

For farmers: 8.69 crore farmers will be benefited through the announcement of direct cash transfers. Installment of Rs 2000 will be transferred in their account in the first week of April, said Sitharaman.

For MGNREGA workers: The government today increased wages under the scheme by Rs 2000 per worke on average as additional income. This will benefit five crore families.

For poor widows/pensioners/divyang: One-time ex-gratia additional support of Rs 1000. This will be given through direct benefit transfer (DBT) in two installments in three months. This will benefit three crore widows, pensioners and divyang.

For women Jan Dhan account holders: Rs 500 per month for the next three month, so that they are able to run their household in this hour of crisis. This will benefit 20 crore such women. The money will be transferred through DBT.

For those covered under the Ujjwala scheme: The nearly 8.3 crore BPL families, who were benefited by the scheme, will be provided three cylinders for the next three months.

For women self-help group (SHGs): There are 63 lakh SHGs which benefit seven crore of households. The government doubled the collateral-free loans (from Rs 10 lakh to Rs 20 lakh)

For organised sector workers: Government of India will pay the EPF controbution – both for employer (12%) and employee (12%) – for the next three months so that nobody suffers due to loss of continuity in the EPFO contribution. This is for all those establishment who have upto 100 employees, and 90 per cent of who draw Rs 15,000 salary per month. The second announcement will benefit 80 lakh employee – the EPFO scheme’s regulations will be amended to allow non-refundable advance of 75 per cent of the amount standing to the credit of the member (for contingency expenditure), or three-month wages, whichever is lower. This will benefit 4.8 crore workers.

For construction workers: There is a welfare fund for construction workers. Sitharaman said today that the central government will direct the state governments to utilise Rs 31,000 crore in that fund to and protect thse workers against any economic disruption. This will benefit 3.5 crore workers.

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