Coronavirus Updates: FM Nirmala Sitharaman Announces Rs 1.7 Lakh Crore Relief Package For Poor

Meryl Sebastian
Union Minister Nirmala Sitharaman speaks to media on Cabinet decisions, at PIB Conference Hall, Shastri Bhawan on March 4, 2020 in New Delhi.

Coronavirus cases in India crossed 600 on Wednesday with active COVID-19 cases at 593 while 43 people have been cured, discharged or migrated, while 13 have died, as of 10.15 am on Thursday.

Maharashtra is still reporting the highest number of COVID-19 cases so far at 121, including three foreign nationals, followed by Kerala which has recorded 110 cases, including eight foreign nationals.

Here are the updates from today:

1. Relief package announced by FM Nirmala Sitharaman with immediate effect

Sitharaman announced a package of Rs 1.7 lakh crore for the poor and for migrant workers via cash transfer and food subsidy. Here’s what that includes:

— Three months of Rs 50 lakh medical insurance cover each for doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers. Insurance cover will benefit 20 lakh people.

— For the poor, in addition to 5kg they already get through PDF, 5 more kg of rice or wheat for free per person per month and 1kg of pulses of their choice for per household. This will benefit 80 crore people. They can avail this in 2 instalments.

— Additional wage of Rs 2000 per worker under MGNREGA, which is to benefit 5 crore families. MNREGA workers wage increased from R.182 to 202 per day.

—  Rs 2,000 to be transferred to farmers in first week of April under PM Kishan Yojana, to benefit 8.69 crore farmers

— 20 crore women Jan Dhan account holders to get an ex-gratia amount of Rs 500 per month for next three months

— Free cylinders for 3 months for 8.3 crore BPL families covered under Ujjwala scheme

Collateral-free loans for women’s self-help groups doubled to Rs 20 lakh, to benefit 7 crore households

— One time ex-gratia of Rs 2000 to 3 crore poor senior citizens, poor widows and the disabled through direct benefit transfer

— EPF contribution by the Employee and Employer (total 24%) will be paid for the next 3 months by the government. This is for all those establishments which have 100 employees and 90% of those employees earn less than...

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