The government will provide free rice/wheat and pulses to poor for the next three months, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said during a press briefing on March 26.
She announced the Prime Minister Gareeb Kalyan Scheme of Rs 1.70 lakh crore, for which the measures, include Rs 50 lakh insurance cover for all frontline medical 'warriors', Sitharaman said. The Scheme will be in two silos - one food related and one for cash transfer - largely under direct benefit transfer (DBT), she added.
"The government announces the Prime Minister Gareeb Kalyan Anna Yojana for 80 crore people, which is 2/3rd of the population," she said.
The finance minister announced, "each person will get 5 kg of rice or wheat (as per choice) over and above the existing 5 kg of rice/wheat being given."
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"Besides this, 1 kg of pulse/dal (as per regional preferences) will also be given per household so that no gareeb remains without food," Sitharaman added.
"These can be availed in two installments," she added.
PTI earlier reported today that the finance minister is likely to announce a comprehensive economic package to deal with the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. The agency quoted an official who did not specify details.
This is her second such address in three days. On March 24, the finance minister had announced multiple measures on statutory and compliance matters in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. She had then said a package "is in the works".
With the COVID-19 lockdown hitting the Indian economy hard and causing job losses, the finance minister had said a "package to help tide over the crisis will be announced sooner rather than later".
Last week, Prime Minister Narendra Modi constituted an economic task force headed by the finance minister to work out package for economy hit by the coronavirus pandemic.