A big economic package to prop up the coronavirus-hit nation yet to come, the government today underscored that rice and wheat will be available for Public Distribution System at hugely subsidized prices, promising relief to millions whose livelihoods are at stake. The announcement came on Day One of the 21-day lockdown announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi last evening as part of the strategy to enforce social distancing -- the only way to beat the highly contagious virus.
The government's move, however, has given rise to a great deal of fear and anxiety among the economically backward sections, especially those dependent on daily wages, for survival.
This afternoon, Union minister Prakash Javadekar reiterated the government's policy in this regard.
"80 crore people will get wheat at Rs 2 a kg and rice at Rs 3 kg for the next three months," the minister said.
"Wheat, which is otherwise given at Rs 7 per kg, is being given at Rs 2... this happens otherwise as well, but we should not forget that this is being given to 80 crore people for three months," the minister said.
The minister also said that in villages, people help each other. "The question arises in cities... citizens need to help those who are poor. States are also coming out with packages," he said.
The Delhi government has already made arrangements for food at shelters for the homeless.
Last week, Mr Kejriwal also said he would provide "free ration" and double pensions for 72 lakh people in the national capital whose jobs may have been affected by the virus.
Mr Javadekar said the government was looking at a better solution.
"Nirmala Sitharaman said yesterday that in due time there may be an announcement of some package. It has only been a few hours into the lockdown... all things will be worked out," he added.