The government will also provide free LPG cylinders to women beneficiaries under the Ujjawala scheme
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on March 26 announced an ex-gratia amount of Rs 500 per month for the next three months to all the women Jan Dhan account holders to run their households. Around 20 crore such women account holders will be covered under this scheme.
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The government will also provide free LPG cylinders to women beneficiaries under the Ujjawala scheme, she stated. The decision will benefit 8.3 crore families, which fall under below the poverty line (BPL). This, she said, will be done to ensure that they do not run short of the cooking medium.
Collateral-free loans for Self Help Groups (SHGs) can now be obtained up to Rs 20 lakh, Sitharaman said, adding that this will benefit 63 lakh SHGs and have an impact on seven crore households.
Also, states will be asked to utilise funds from the Central Government Fund for Welfare of Construction Workers to provide assistance and support to workers affected by the economic disruption. It will benefit 3.5 crore workers registered with the fund, which has about Rs. 31,000 crore, the minister said.
The daily wage under MNREGA has also been increased to Rs 202 a day from Rs 182 and will benefit five crore workers.
The minister said the government will front-load Rs 2,000 payment to farmers in the first week of April under the existing PM Kishan Yojana. The move, she said, will benefit 8.69 crore farmers.
Also, she announced free distribution of five kgs of foodgrains per person and one kg of pulses per household for the next three months to over 80 crore ration card holders to ensure that no poor stays hungry during the COVID-19 lockdown.
This will be over and above what the ration card holders receive under the National Food Security Act (NFSA) at a highly subsidised price of Rs 2/kg for wheat and Rs 3/kg for rice.Announcing the relief measures in 36 hours since lockdown, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said free distribution of food grains and pulses will be provided under the Rs 1.7 lakh crore Pradhan Mantri Gareeb Kalyan Yojana (PMGKY).
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