Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday announced a slew of measures to help the needy during the lockdown. She announced measures to help the ones with no resources with food, money and cooking gas. The Finance Minister said that the government will provide 5kg of rice or wheat -- whatever is preferred -- along with 1kg of pulses, according to regional preferences.
This provision under the Pradhan Mantri Gareeb Kalyan Ann Yojna will benefit 80 crore people, said the Finance Minister. It must be mentioned that this allotment of 5kg of rice and wheat will be over and above the 5kg already disbursed under the PM Gareeb Kalyan Yojna. This extra allotment of rice, wheat and pulses will be given for the next three months.
The announcements come amid rising concerns over how the lower strata of the society would make a living during the 21-day lockdown period. Most of the migrant workers and daily wage labourers depend on their daily earnings for livelihood. After the entire country went under the lockdown, the poor and needy have been severely affected. Opposition leaders such as Sonia Gandhi and P Chidambaram also urged the ruling BJP government to help those in need financially.
During her press conference, the Finance Minister also announced that under the Ujjwala Yojana, women will be given free cylinders for the next three months. She said that while people might gather the essential items for a meal, they might not be able to procure a gas cylinder to cook.
The minister said that women who have Jan Dhan accounts would receive Rs 500 per month for the next three months so that they can ensure that their households are functioning properly. Finance Minister Sitharaman also thanked the front line workers. She announced Rs 50 lakh insurance cover per health care worker fighting coronavirus.