This Article is From May 14, 2020

Free Food Grain Supply To Migrants For Next 2 Months: Nirmala Sitharaman

A one nation, one ration card system will also be introduced, which will benefit 67 crore beneficiaries in 23 states by August 2020.

8 crore migrants will be benefited, Nirmala Sitharaman said

New Delhi:

Millions of migrants will be provided free food grains for the next two months, the government said today in the second tranche of announcements on the mega economic package for those hardest hit by coronavirus and weeks of lockdown.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said migrants, even those who were not under the central food security plan or state ration cards, would be provided 5 kg of grains per person and one kg of chana (gram) per family.

The government will spend Rs 3,500 crore on food for nearly eight crore migrant workers, said the minister, briefing the media on measures focusing on migrants, farmers and the poorest.

Under a "One nation, one ration card" system, ration cards would soon be portable so migrant workers can use their cards across the country, said the minister.

"This will enable migrant beneficiaries to access PDS grains from any fair price shop (FPS) in the country. About 67 crore beneficiaries in 23 states covering 83 per cent of the PDS population will be covered by national portability by August 2020," she said.

The government also announced a scheme for affordable rental housing complexes for migrants and employment under the jobs guarantee programme MGNREGA.

Thousands of workers left towns and cities after they lost their jobs during the lockdown. "The government is concerned about migrant workers," said Ms Sitharaman, adding that it had provided funds to states to provide them shelter, food grain and transport.

For migrants who started on foot for their home villages, stranded without money or shelter at their places of work, the Finance Minister said cooked meals were being provided by state governments. "They are allowed to buy food grains on credit from the central pool at a subsidised rate for this purpose," she said.

For farmers, the Finance Minister announced a Rs 2 lakh crore concessional credit through Kisan Credits Cards, which she said would benefit some 2.5 crore farmers.

This is the second briefing by Ms Sitharaman to share details of the Rs 20 lakh crore package announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to support various sections hit by coronavirus and its economic fallout, especially because of weeks of lockdown.

PM Modi said the package, equivalent to 10 per cent of India's GDP, and was meant to support workers and businesses hit by the shutdown. On today's announcements, PM Modi tweeted that these would boost food security and credit to farmers as well as street vendors.