The Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman On Thursday announced the second tranche amounting to Rs 3.16 lakh crores of the special Covid financial package worth Rs 20 lakh crore .
The second tranche of the package will focus on migrant workers, street vendors, small traders, self-employed & small farmers. The Finance Ministry announced 9 measures today, including 3 for migrants, 1 for street vendors, 1 for housing , 1 for employment generation for tribal, 1 loan within mudra, and 2 for small farmers.
As part of the second tranche, the Finance Ministry has announced supply of free foodgrain to all migrants for next two months. The card holders were already being provided with 5kg grains, but now even the Non Card holders, and those who are not covered by the National Food Security Act will be given 5kg wheat or rice per person. Rs 3,500 crores will be spent on this intervention in the next 2 months, to provide the migrant workers with free foodgrains, and it will be provided through State Government.
Public Distribution System will be developed through ‘One Nation One Ration Card’ throughout the country, by enabling migrants to access the PDS from any fair price shop in India by March 2021. 67 crore beneficiaries in 23 states covering 83% of PDS population will be covered by national portability by August 2020 and 100% National portability will be achieved by March, 2021.
It was clarified that more initiatives will be announced, if any component are not spoken about today , that doesn’t mean that the government has forgotten about any particular segment.
During the news conference, the FM listed out the measures that have been taken by the Government so far post COVID-19 outbreak. These include:
· 63 lakh loans of Rs 86,600 crore approved in agriculture between 1 March and 30 April 2020.
· Support of Rs 4200 crore provided under rural infrastructure development fund to States during March 2020 for rural infrared
· Working capital limit of Rs 6700 crore sanctioned for procurement of agriculture produce to State Government entities since March 2020
· 3 crore farmers with agricultural loans of Rs 4.22 lakh crore availed benefit of 3 months loan moratorium, 25 lakh new Kisan credit cards sanctioned, etc.
Addressing the situation of the migrants, Nirmala Sitharaman added that the Government is conscious to their needs and is attending to them in various ways. In the last 2 months, Govt of India has permitted State Govts to utilize SDRF (nearly Rs 11000 crore) which goes from the Centre for setting up shelter & food facilities for migrants.
The Government is also committed towards making the following developments, which are not part of this package, but are in the Parliament , and will be developed with time:
· Minimum wages is now applicable only to 30% workers, the Government wants to make it universal.
· The Government wishes to find a solution for the regional disparity in wages that prevails , to see if National floorwage concept can be brought up that States would agree with.
· The Government will also see if Compulsory appointment letters can be given to everyone, and if it can come up with definition of Interstate migrant workers, so it makes it easy to make provisions for them
· Have an Occupational health and safety code for workers working in risky areas, Make health checkups mandatory, provide safeguards for women workers, etc –
The Government will launch a scheme for Migrant labour and Urban Poor, under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojna to ensure Affordable Rental Housing Complexes (ARHC). It will support nearly 50 lakh street vendors, by launching a scheme with Rs 5000 crore Special Credit Facility for the street vendors.
Government of India will also provide Interest subvention of 2% for prompt MUDRA- Shishu loans payees for a period of 12 months, since small business under MUDRA have been disrupted the most, impacting their capacity to pay EMIs. A relief of Rs 1500 crore will be granted to these loanees.
The Government will extend the Credit Linked Subsidy Scheme up to March 2021; 2.5 lakhs middle income families to benefit during 2020-21 , 70,000 crore boost to housing sector and middle income groups
An Additional Emergency Working Capital Funding Rs 30,000 croresthrough NABARD has been announced to benefit around 3 crore farmers, mostly small and marginal . Plans worth Rs 6000 crores will be approved shortly under Compensatory Afforestation Management & Planning Authority funds for creating job opportunities for Tribals and Adivasis
A Concessional credit boost of Rs 2 lakh crore will be given to 2.5 crore farmers through Kisan Credit Cards and this scheme will also include Fishermen and Animal Husbandry farmers.
-India Legal Bureau