India’s Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced on 26th March, 2020 a slew of economic measures totalling to Rs.1.7 lakh Crores aimed to offset the negative impact, albeit partially, in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic sweeping our Country, so that the common man gets some relief from ‘the locked down’ at home or wherever he/she is stationed. Consumer VOICE financial experts have highlighted the important points of the economic package.
- Provision of a medical insurance cover of Rs 50 lakh per person for those on the frontline of the fight against the deadly coronavirus outbreak, including doctors, nurses and sanitation workers.
- Direct cash transfers for eight categories of beneficiaries, including pensioners, women and the specially- abled was also announced as part of the relief package.
- Farmers will get the first instalment of Rs 2,000 under the Kisan Samman Nidhi in the first week of April, 2020.
- The government increased the wages under the MNREGA scheme from the existing Rs 182 to Rs 202 per month thereby benefitting Rs.2,000 additionally for each beneficiary.
- The Finance Minister said women holding bank accounts under the financial inclusion scheme Jan Dhan will get an ex-gratia amount of Rs 500 per month for next three months.
- The government announced the supply of 5 Kgs of either rice or wheat and 1 Kg of lentil of choice free of cost to poor households every month for a period of three months, in addition to the existing 5 Kgs of wheat/rice announced earlier.
- The government also announced collateral-free loans worth up to Rs 10 lakh for women self-help groups under the Deen Dayal Upadhyaya National Rural Mission scheme.
- It also doubled the limit applicable to the existing scheme to Rs 20 lakh.
- The government made two announcements for the organised sector. The Centre said it will pay EPF contribution on behalf of both the employee and the employer for a period of 3 months for certain small companies. The government said companies with up to 100 employees in which 90 per cent of the staff is paid less than Rs 15,000 per month will be entitled to receive this benefit.
- It will also permit withdrawals of up to 75 per cent of non-refundable advance or three months of wages from the EPF account, whichever is lower, a move likely to benefit 4.8 crore subscribers.
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