Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday announced 1.7 lakh crore special package that will cover 80 crore poor people, almost 8.69 crore farmers’s family, 20 crore Jan Dhan Account holder women, poor senior citizens, disabled persons, widows and employees of small ventures. She also announced Rs 50 lakh per person medical insurance cover for doctors, paramedics and ASHA workers.
We have questions. Can it contain the economic slowdown? Is it adequate to daily wage workers? Will help migrant workers, farmers that will face price drop in near future and small businesses that are in pitfalls?
We have to consider that it is not a traditional bail out package. The migrant workers and rural poor need an urgent help for their daily basic needs. In this Health Emergency food and health services are the basic need for every one. We have to feed our vulnerable people. In special package govt will give additional 5 kg wheat or rice and regional pulse for the next three months. This will be over and above 5 kg they already get. Govt has more than 58 million tonnes grains in godowns so far. It will also solve the storage problem of Food Corporation of India (FCI).
More than 20 crore women Jan Dhan Account will be credited with Rs 1,500 over three months. Ujjwala beneficiaries would get free gas cylinder in next three months. Financial aid for poor senior citizens, widows and disabled persons will also help them to run their households.
50 lakh medical insurance cover will also boost moral of our front line fighters. The EPF contribution of both employee and employer would be paid by government for the next three month. This will be only for those all enterprises with up to the 100 employees and 90% of whom salary less than 15,000 per month. Increase in MNREGA to Rs 202 per day from from 182 will also improve purchasing power of rural worker in future.
All these measures show that unorganized workers, daily wage workers and poor are at focal point of govt priorities. Feeding them must be our’s and government’s priority.
Across the India horticulture framers are facing difficulties due to lock down. Government must work on Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for essential services. State governments should also be prepare in advance for coming wheat procurement season.