This Article is From May 14, 2020

Free Grain, Universal Ration For Migrants In Centre's Package: 10 Points

Nirmala Sitharaman said there will be a "One Nation One Ration Card ", Anyone, irrespective of where they are, can avail of ration, she said..

Nirmala Sitharaman today announced the second tranche of the Centre's Rs 20 lakh crore package.

New Delhi: Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman today unveiled the second tranche of Centre's Rs 20 lakh crore fiscal stimulus, which attempts to address the question of food, shelter and livelihood for migrant workers, street vendors and small farmers. The immediate relief measure announced was extra grain. A universal, portable ration card which can be used across the country and affordable rental housing scheme are also in the works. "There is a legitimate concern about migrants returning to their home states. We are attending to migrants," the minister said amid rising opposition criticism that the Centre is ignoring the plight of migrant labourers. For farmers, the minister announced a Kisan Card. Provisions for loans have been made for street vendors and tribals. Pointing to the fact that the whole package is yet to be unveiled, finance ministry officials said this was "Only the soup, the meal is yet to come".

Here are the top 10 points in this big story:

  1. Nirmala Sitharaman said what the government is giving currently will continue and additional food grain will also be given. In addition, those who don't have a ration card, can avail 5 kg of rice or wheat and 5kg chana per family. This will benefit approximately 8 crore people and the government has allocated Rs 3,500 crore for this. "This will be enacted by state governments, and will be valid for the next 3 months," she added.

  2. The ongoing "One Nation One Ration Card " scheme, under which anyone, irrespective of where they are, can avail of ration, will be completed, Ms Sitharaman said. "The One Nation One Ration Card is already rolled out 83 per cent so far, and will be 100 per cent by March 2021," she said, adding, "This will ensure people get their rightful ration whichever corner of the country they may be".

  3. Under the PM Awas Yojana, a scheme will start for rental housing, where institutions and associations will be asked to provide affordable housing on their premises. The government will also make provisions for affordable housing for the urban poor, labourers and migrants in all states and UTs, which will be built under public-private partnership.

  4. For people earning between Rs 6 lakh and 18 lakh, a Rs 70,000-crore scheme for subsidised housing is being worked out. "We are now offering a one-year extension of the scheme, from March 2020 to March 2021. This had already benefited 3.3 lakh families. The extension of 1 year will benefit another 2.5 lakh families and generate a demand in the housing sector," the minister said.

  5. Ms Sitharaman also announced a Rs 5,000 crore special credit facility benefit for street vendors, which will be launched within a month. Under it, a vendor can avail a loan of Rs 10,000 and it will benefit 50 lakh street vendors. A Rs 600 crore fund for boost to tribal sector work.

  6. Those who need loans under Rs 50,000,  will have a 2 per cent interest subversion rate. This will benefit roughly 3 crore people who are beneficiaries under the "MUDRA SHISHU" category. The overall benefit for them will be Rs 1,500 crore.

  7. The Kisan Credit Card, meant for farmers, will be extended to fishermen and animal husbandry workers. It will also cover around 2.5 crore farmers who don't have it yet under the Rs 2 lakh crore scheme. For small and marginal farmers, an additional fund of Rs 30,000 crore will be added to the existing Rs 90,000 crore under NABARD. This will help especially in the Rabi season and benefit 3 crore farmers, the minister said.

  8. On Tuesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a cumulative package of Rs 20 lakh crore to provide relief to various segments amid the financial crisis set off by the coronavirus outbreak. This included Rs 1.7 lakh crore package announced in March for the poor and Rs 5.6 lakh crore stimulus provided by the Reserve Bank of India through various monetary policies. The rest of the package is being announced in tranches. Yesterday, Ms Sitharman unveiled the first tranche, which comprised a Rs 5.94 lakh crore plan for MSMEs and others,

  9. The Centre has been at the receiving end of opposition criticism since PM Modi announced the package. Most opposition parties -- including the Congress, the Left, the DMK and the Trinamool Congress – have questioned why the migrant labourers -- who have been desperate to go home as their income dried up overnight -- is being repeatedly ignored.

  10. The long line of migrants trudging on highways, carrying their small children and meager belongings, were among the most moving images of the lockdown. Even after the Centre started running special trains their situation did not improve. Many started journeys of hundreds of kilometers on trucks, tempos and even three-wheelers. Some never made it home.