New Delhi: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday announced a Rs 50 lakh insurance cover for healthcare workers who are at the forefront of dealing with coronavirus pandemic.
Sitharaman said the government has finalised an economic stimulus package to deal with the impact of 21-day countrywide lockdown to prevent spread of the virus.
“It’s only 36 hours since the lockdown has been imposed. Now we have come with a package which immediately take care of the welfare concerns of the poor and suffering workers and those who need immediate help,” Sitharaman said.
She also said that 80 crore poor people, nearly two thirds of the population will get five kg of rice or wheat per month for three months, in addition to the 5 kg they already receive, for free."
The rationcard holders can take the foodgrains and pulses from the Public Distribution System (PDS) in two installments, she added.
"This measure will ensure no gareeb (poor) remains hungry," Sitharaman said.
The package will include cash transfer and food subsidy, she said.
"Farmers who currently receive Rs 6,000 annually, will be given the first installment of the next financial year immediately. 8.7 crore farmers will benefit from it," said Sitharaman.
As many of 20.5 crore women Jan Dhan Account holders will get Rs 500 per month for next three months to run their households.
For poor senior citizens, widow and disabled will get an ex-gratia of Rs 1,000.
Also, the daily wage under MNREGA has been increased to Rs 202 a day from Rs 182 to benefit 5 crore workers.
The minister said the government will front-load Rs 2,000 payment to farmers in the first week of April under the existing PM Kishan Yojana to benefit 8.69 crore farmers.
Also, the beneficiaries of Ujjwala LPG scheme will get free cooking gas for the next three months, she said.
This forms part of the Rs 1.70 lakh crore Gramin Kalyan Package
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Prime Minister Narendra Modi last week had constituted a task force headed by the Finance Minister to work out package for economy hit by coronavirus.