Highlights: Food, housing, jobs for poor in FM's new measures for lockdown

Migrants ride a truck to reach their native places, during the ongoing Covid-19 lockdown, in Mathura. Photo: PTI
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday announced a second set of measures that are part of a Rs 20 trillion fiscal and monetary package announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to support India’s economy, which has been battered by a 51-day lockdown to curb the coronavirus outbreak.

"Today's initiatives focus on migrant workers, street vendors, small traders, the self-employed & small farmers," said Sitharaman at a press conference in Delhi. She listed nine steps for these sections of the society.

Here are highlights from her press conference:

1. Free food grain for migrant workers
  • Free food grain supply to all migrant workers, even non-card holders, for the next two months: 5 kg wheat/rice per individual and  kg chana per family every month.
  • "One nation, one ration card " will be implemented. In 23 states, 67 million beneficiaries (83% of all PDS beneficiaries) already covered. 100% coverage by March 2021
  • Rs 3,500 crore to be spent on this over the next 2 months
  • State governments to be implementing agency for this. 80 million migrant workers to benefit

2. For farmers
  • Interest subvention on small loans for farmers at low rates extended to May 31, 2020
  • Rs 30,000-cr working capital facility, in addition to the Rs 90,000 crore already provided by NABARD
  • States to be given this fund via SSBs, RRBs
  • Funds to be released immediately for post-rabi harvest work and kharif preparation of small and marginal farmers    

3. Credit for farmers
  • Rs 2 trillion worth of concessional credit to be extended to 25 million farmers
  • To be provided through Kisan credit cards
  • Animal husbandry and fisheries to be eligible for this scheme
4. Housing for migrant workers/urban poor
  • Special scheme for rental housing under Pradhan Mantri Aawas Yojana
  • Manufacturing units will be incentivised to build affordable rental housing complexes
  • Also converting government-funded houses into rental housing complexes
  • Steps under Mudra Shishu loans (Rs 50,000 or less)
  • Interest subvention support of 2% for 12 months at the cost of Rs 1,500 crore
  • Rs 1,62,000 crore given out under this type of loan so far. 30 million people to benefit
  • Credit-linked affordable housing subsidy scheme for the middle income group (with Rs 6 lakh to Rs 18 lakh annual income) extended to March 31, 2021

5. For street vendors
  • Special credit facility scheme at the cost of Rs 5,000 crore
  • Easy access to credit to be available for all street vendors (about 5 million in total)
  • Each vendor can take up to Rs 10,000 as loan
6. Steps for employment generation
  • Rs 6,000-crore CAMPA funds to be used for afforestation and similar projects
  • Proposals have come from states
  • Move to generate employment for tribal and rural people

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