Free foodgrains for 2 months; Rs 10K to each street vendor; Rs 2-L cr concessional credit to farmers
Free foodgrains to migrant workers, working capital loan to street vendors, and concessional credit to farmers are parts of the Government mega plan to mitigate the problems of the people worst hit by the countrywide lockdown triggered by the coronavirus crisis.
Also to benefit of migrant workers, the Government plans to allow inter-State portability of ration cards under public distribution system (PDS).
Addressing a news conference — her second in two days — Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said 8 crore migrant workers will get 5 kilograms of grains and 1 kilogram of pulses free for two months. At the same time, 50 lakh street vendors, who have lost their means of survival by the lockdown, would get a working capital loan of Rs 10,000 each to restart their activities.
The Government will also provide Rs 2 lakh crore of concessional credit to 2.5 crore farmers through Kisan Credit Cards. Also for post-harvest (Rabi) and current Kharif crop requirements in May and June, NABARD will provide Rs 30,000 crore additional emergency working capital funding for farmers through rural cooperative banks and regional rural banks.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the announcements made by his Government on Thursday to boost the economy will strengthen food security and credit to farmers as well as street vendors.
“Today’s announcements by FM Nirmala Sitharaman will especially benefit our farmers and migrant workers,” the Prime Minister wrote on Twitter.
“The announcements include a series of progressive measures and will boost food security, credit to farmers as well as street vendors,” he said.
The FM also announced Rs 70,000 crore boost to the housing sector through one-year extension of subsidised loan for affordable houses for the middle-income group with an annual income of Rs 6 lakh to Rs 18 lakh.
Explaining the relief package to the migrant workers, Sitharaman said the Central Government will bear Rs 3,500 crore cost of giving free food grain and pulses while the State Governments will be responsible for implementation, identification of migrants and full distribution.
For small businesses, the Minister announced a 2 per cent interest subvention under MUDRA-Shishu loans of up to Rs 50,000. This would cost the Government Rs 1,500 crore. For street vendors, the working capital loan would cost Rs 5,000 crore. She also announced Rs 6,000 crore employment push, using Compensatory Afforestation Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) funds.
Modi had on Tuesday announced a cumulative package of Rs 20 lakh crore (nearly 10 per cent of GDP) to provide relief to various segments of the economy. This included Rs 1.7 lakh crore package comprising of free food grains and cash to poor for three months announced in March, and Rs 5.6 lakh crore stimulus provided through various monetary policy measures by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). The remaining of the Rs 20 lakh crore package is being announced in tranches.
Sitharaman had in the first tranche on Wednesday unveiled a Rs 5.94 lakh crore plan that mostly comprises of off-budget items such as Rs 3 lakh crore of credit line to small businesses as support to shadow banks and electricity distributors.
Off-Budget items do not result in any outgo from the Government exchequer but these will aid in easing liquidity constraints for businesses once the lockdown is lifted.
Friday, 15 May 2020 | PNS | New Delhi
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