The central government should guarantee jobs in urban areas at Rs 400 per day, and provide compensation for the loss of livelihoods amid the coronavirus pandemic, a panel of leading economists, activists and intellectuals has proposed in a seven-point relief plan.
"Enhance the job guarantee in rural and urban India- MNREGS guarantee to be enhanced to 200 days for each job card; Assured employment for 'green jobs' in urban areas for 100 days per person @ Rs. 400 per day," the panel's plan, called 'Jai Hind Mission', says.
Migrants workers- who have been stranded in several parts of the country because of the lockdown - should be helped to reach home within 10 days, it says.
The government must take responsibility to arrange, coordinate and pay for trains and inter-state buses for the returning migrants, the panel proposed, adding state governments must take charge of transporting intra-state migrants.
Every ration card holder must get 10 kg foodgrains, 1.5 kg daal (lentils), 800 ml cooking oil and 500 grams sugar per month free of cost for at least the next six months, it said.
The panel also recommended cash compensation to those who lose their jobs or livelihoods due to the pandemic and lockdown. There should a three-month interest waiver for farmers, owners of small businesses, and those who have taken home loans, it said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi earlier this month announced a Rs 20 lakh crore financial stimulus to cushion the adverse economic impact of the pandemic. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman later unveiled the contents of the package in five tranches. Rs 3 lakh crore loan guarantees for MSMEs, additional allocation to the rural employment guarantee scheme MNREGA, and agricultural reforms were the highlights of the announcements.
The opposition had alleged the announcements didn't match PM Modi's promise of a stimulus package amounting to 10 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP).
Earlier this month, the centre extended the lockdown for the third time till May 31. However, it allowed several relaxations in low-risk zones to boost economic activity.