Nirmala Sitharaman announces Rs 1.7 lakh crore relief package: Key points

NEW DELHI: Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday announced a comprehensive economic package to deal with the impact of deadly coronavirus outbreak. Earlier on Tuesday, Sitharaman had relaxed timelines for filing income tax (I-T) returns and raised default thresholds for invoking bankruptcy proceedings.
Here are the top updates from the finance minister’s briefing:
Rs 1.7 lakh crore package: It is for those who are in “immediate need” with an aim to put money in their hands
Health insurance cover: Rs 50 lakh per person for frontline warriors (doctors, nurses, sanitation, ASHA or government workers)
Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana: 5 kg of wheat/rice per person will be given for next three months in addition to the 5 kg which is already given; 1 kg of pulse per household
Cash transfer based on DBT (direct benefit transfer):
* Farmers, who get Rs 6,000 annually under PM-Kisan, will get first installment of Rs 2,000 in addition and it will be given immediately in the first week of April.
* MGNREGA: ‘Wages increased from Rs 182 to Rs 202 and it will result in an additional income of Rs 2,000’
* Widow/poor widows/poor/’divyang’/senior citizens: Ex-gratia Rs 1,000 (to be given in two installment)
* Women Jan Dhan Yojana: Ex-gratia amount of Rs 500 per month (next three months)
* Ujjwala Scheme: For next three months, free cylinders will be given to those who are enrolled in the scheme
* Self-help group women dealing with livelihood missions: Collateral free loan amount increased to Rs 20 lakh from Rs 10 lakh
* Organised sector: Govt to pay EPF contribution (both employer and employee) for next three month for those establishments which have up to a 100 employees and 90% employees earning less than Rs 15,000
Workers can withdraw up to 75% from the PF funds (non-refundable advance) or three months of wages (whichever is lower)
* Constructions workers: The Centre directed state governments to use fund of Rs 31,000 crore to provide relief
* District mineral fund: State governments can use the fund for medical testing, screening and providing health attention services
The finance minister mentioned that these measures and allocations will be done on an “immediate” basis.
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.
Coronavirus cases in India crossed 600-mark as authorities beefed up preparedness to fight the pandemic. The number of deaths across the globe from the novel virus crossed 19,000. Complete lockdown of the entire country is underway for 21 days to halt the spread of coronavirus.
In Video:FM Nirmala Sitharaman announces Rs 1.7 lakh crore relief package: Key points

Zeeshan Laskar

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