On 14th May 2020, in the second tranche of relief measures under the Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan, the Union FM Nirmala Sitharaman has announced nine relief measures. These centre around the urban poor, farmers and street vendors. It ensures the security of food and shelter for the most vulnerable section of the society in times of COVID-19 pandemic.
Highlights of today’s announcements at the press conference are as follows:
Relief Measures for the Migrant Workers
Free food grain supply shall be provided for the next two months to all the migrant workers. In continuation of the earlier NFSA or the state card system, those migrants who were not covered by these ration cards will now be taken care of. They will be provided one kg of pulses per family and five kgs of rice/wheat per person every month for the next two months. The respective state governments will implement this measure, and the Central Government will fund the scheme amounting to Rs 3,500 crore.
National portability of ration cards will be allowed through the ‘One Nation One Ration Card’ system. It shall be implemented across India. The migrant workers can avail the benefit of the Public Distribution System (PDS) at any fair price shops in India beyond one state/UT. Around 67 crore beneficiaries in 23 states (83% of PDS population) identified at present will get ‘One Nation One Ration Card’ by August 2020. The government plans to cover 100% national portability by March 2021, where all states and Union Territories will complete full FPS automation through technology systems.
Affordable Rental Housing Complexes (ARHC) will be provided as rental accommodation to migrant workers and their families under the PM Awas Yojana. A PPP model through concessionaire will be followed where the government-funded housing shall be converted into ARHC. Further, manufacturing units, industries, institutions and associations can get incentives by developing ARHC on their private lands. They will also be joined by the state government agencies or the Central Government organisations. Separate guidelines shall be issued for implementing this measure.
Relief Measures for MUDRA-Shishu Loan Borrowers
In addition to the three-month moratorium granted by RBI, the MUDRA-Shishu loan borrowers will be benefitted by a 2% interest subvention scheme for prompt payments up to 12 months. The cost of the scheme is pegged at Rs 1,500 crore. The MUDRA-Shishu facility currently allows lending of loans of less than or equal to Rs 50,000 per person, whose current portfolio is worth Rs 1.62 lakh crore.
Relief Measures for Street Vendors
Rs 5,000 crore worth special credit facility for the street vendors was announced on Thursday. It allows easy access to credit for about 50 lakh street vendors identified in India where they can borrow an initial working capital of up to Rs 10,000 per person. The government plans to implement this facility in a month. It shall include incentives for accepting digital payments and maintaining regular repayments.
Affordable Housing Limits Expanded
The option to avail the credit-linked subsidy scheme (CLSS) for affordable housing has been extended up to March 2021 by a year. Further, the middle-income group earning between Rs 6 lakh and Rs 18 lakh as annual household income shall be included within its scope. It is said to benefit about 2.5 lakh families during the year 2020-21. It will help spur job creation in the construction sector. It will increase the demand for construction of raw materials, leading to an investment of over Rs 70,000 crore in housing.
Job Creation for Tribals and Adivasis
Employment generation for Tribals and Adivasis has been proposed wherein Rs 6,000 crore shall be approved for the Compensatory Afforestation Management & Planning Authority (CAMPA). The authority together with the state governments will, in turn, undertake plantation works, artificial regeneration, soil and water conservation works, forest protection and infrastructure development in urban, semi-urban and rural areas.
Relief Measures for Farmers
An additional Rs 30,000 crore shall be infused towards post-harvest activities of Rabi crops for the small and marginal farmers via NABARD. It will also cover expenses towards preparatory activities for the next Kharif sowing season. The state co-operative banks and regional rural banks will be engaging with this priority lending to benefit about three crore farmers.
Rs 2 lakh crore concessional credit shall be given to around 2.5 crore farmers by allotting Kisan Credit Cards. The drive shall include fisheries and animal husbandry farmers too. The cardholders can get access to institutional credits at a concessional interest rate.
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