Sources say that the Finance Ministry is working on a second relief plan to revive the coronavirus-hit Indian economy after the lockdown is lifted. The government had announced a relief package of food grains and cash transfers, worth Rs.1.70 lakh crore, for the poor and vulnerable sections of the society. The relief package was meant to help them deal with the situation caused by the coronavirus outbreak.
The second relief plan will target the hard-hit sectors of the economy, such as MSMEs, hospitality, agriculture, civil aviation, and other allies. It is speculated that the government will announce the plan in the days to come based on the severity of the pandemic. The Finance Ministry is said to be working closely with the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) on this aspect.
PMO has set up a seven-member team headed by Atanu Chakraborty, Economic Affairs Secretary. The other members of the team constitute:
- T V Somnathan, Expenditure Secretary
- Hiralal Samariya, Labour Secretary
- Rajesh Bhushan, Rural Development Secretary
- Pankaj Jain, Additional Secretary of Department of Financial Services
- Arvind Shrivastava, Joint Secretary at PMO
- Amrapali Kata, Deputy Secretary in the Cabinet Secretariat
The team is looking at pain points of the economy along with the distress and misery faced by the society that is rendered jobless due to COVID-19 outbreak. The situation is being monitored daily.
Union Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi will vet the initial draft of the second relief package. The package will then be announced by the Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. It is expected to be published by the end of the lockdown period to reinvigorate the economy and align the industries back on track as soon as possible.
In another case, the government has reduced the salary and allowances of members of parliament by 30% for a year to save funds for the fight against COVID-19. The plan was approved by the Union Cabinet on 6 April 2020. Also, President, Vice President, and governors have voluntarily opted for a pay cut as a gesture of supporting the government with funds for the fight.
Similarly, the government decides to suspend Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS), where each MP would receive a sum of Rs.5 crore per annum. This fund will now be utilised to improve the nation’s medical infrastructure.
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