Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday announced the second tranche of the Rs 20 lakh crore economic stimulus package focussing on migrants, street vendors, traders, self-employed people and small farmers. The minister announced free food grain supply to all migrants who are non–card holders amounting to an expenditure of Rs 3,500 crore by the Centre for the next two months.
At least 8 crore migrant workers will be given free food grains of 5 kg of rice or wheat and 1 kg of chana or pulses, for all those migrants who do not fall under the Food Security Act, the finance minister said.
“Free food grains supply to all migrants for the next 2 months– for non-card holders, they shall be given 5kg wheat or rice per person and 1 kg chana per family per month for the next 2 months. About 8 crore migrants will benefit from Rs 3,500 crore to be spent on this by the Centre,” Sitharaman said.
An initiative of ‘One Nation One Ration Card’ will also be implemented for about 67 crore beneficiaries in at least 23 states covering 83% of the Public Distribution System (PDS) population and that will also be covered by national portability by August 2020, the finance minister said.
PDS ration cards will be made portable to allow migrant workers to use those same ration cards across states, she said. The Union government has earmarked an amount of Rs 3,500 crore for giving free food grains to those 8 crore migrant workers who do not have either Central or state PDS cards, Sitharaman elaborated.
This is the second phase of announcements by the Union Finance Ministry elaborating on the Centre’s Rs 20 lakh crore economic stimulus package.
A day earlier, Sitharaman had said that over the next few days, the finance ministry would hold daily media briefings to put forth Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision and share more details on the economic package meant to revive the industry grappling with a 51-day nationwide lockdown. The lockdown had been imposed towards the end of March to contain the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The finance minister on Wednesday had announced a slew of measures under the huge economic package of Rs 20 lakh crore that she said would infuse vigour in the economy and benefit various economic and industrial sectors.