As the country goes under lockdown for the next three weeks, the Government of India has come forward to help the poor and deprived sections of the society, whose income has been hurt due to the lockdown.
The government has come up with a well calibrated approach, and announced a total of 1.7 lakh crore rupees relief package under the Pradhan Mantri Gareeb Kalyan Yojna (PMGKY). This is an unprecedented relief package as 1.7 lakh crore rupees is a huge sum of money, accounting for around 7-8 percent of union government total expenditure in the last fiscal year.
The government announced relief measures under the different schemes so that every person of the country who is not economically secure could benefit from one scheme or other. Relief amount under the majority of the schemes like PM-KISAN, MGNREGA will given through direct benefit transfer so that there is no leakage and every household has money to buy essential items.
Here is the list of the relief measures announced by the Finance Ministry under the PMGKY.
The Government will provide subsidized food to almost every household which is not employed in formal sector and has stable source income for next three months. Apart from the staple food grains given by the government to poor through fair price shops (FPS) at nominal price, the government will also distribute pulses and few other items at subsidized price through FPS.
The government has also announced 50 crore rupees health insurance scheme for the medical workers, who are in frontline in country’s fight against Chinese virus.
Moreover, the government would front-load the 2,000 rupees given to farming household enrolled under PM-KISAN in the first month April. This will benefit more than 8 crore farming families who have already enrolled themselves under the scheme, and especially the poorer states like UP, Bihar which have very high enrollment would benefit most.
The government has also decided to increase the wage under MGNREGA from 182 rupees to 202 rupees, and this would benefit more than 5 crore families enrolled under the scheme.
In order the help the senior citizens, divyangs, and widow, the government has decided to credit ex-gratia amount of 1,000 crore rupees in their account through Direct Benefit transfer.
The government announced that all the women who opened Jan-Dhan account will get 5,00 rupees per month for next three months, and this is expected to help 20 crore women of the country who opened Jan Dhan account because they were unbanked earlier.
Under the Ujjawala scheme, through which the government has provided subsidized cylinders to more than 8 crore families, the households would get free LPG for next three months.
The government has also increased the collateral free loan limit to Self Help Groups from 10 lakh rupees to 20 lakh rupees, and this is expected to help 7 crore households who are enrolled in SHG schemes. This will especially help the rural unorganized businesses who benefit most through SHGs.
Additionally, the government has decided to help the workers in organized sector with salary of less than 15,000 rupees per month. Finance minister announced that the government will contribute whole 24 percent Provident Fund amount of these workers and therefore they will get additional money- 12 percent of the salary- as benefit.
For the construction workers, who are hit most by the shutdown, the government announced a relief package of 31,000 crore rupees, and asked the states to come forward to contribute in the relief package fund of the construction workers.
The slew of relief measures announced by the government covers almost the entire poor population, and every person from the poor and marginalized section of the society has something in the scheme. All the relief measures will start getting credited by the first date of the next month, which is also the start of the next financial year. Most of the benefits except for the subsidized food are getting credited through direct benefit transfer and therefore there are no chances of leakage.