Sitharaman announces 'one nation, one ration card' for migrants, loans for street vendors and farmers in 2nd tranche; key takeaways

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman listed out details of the second tranche of the Centre's Rs 20-lakh-crore special economic package on Thursday, which included nine measures for migrant workers, street vendors and small farmers, among others.

In a press briefing, Sitharaman announced a Rs 70,000 crore boost to the housing sector through one-year extension of subsidised loan for affordable houses for the middle-income group with an annual income of Rs 6 lakh to Rs 18 lakh.

 Sitharaman announces one nation, one ration card for migrants, loans for street vendors and farmers in 2nd tranche; key takeaways

Nirmala Sitharaman addressed a press conference on Thursday. ANI

The credit-linked subsidy scheme was operationalised from May 2017 and extended up to March 2021. She said the scheme is being extended by one year to benefit 2.5 lakh middle income families.

She also announced a Rs 6,000 crore employment push for members of the Adivasi community, using Compensatory Afforestation Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) funds.

Centre announces free food grains for migrants for 2 months

Sitharaman also announced a Rs 3.16 lakh crore package, the biggest chunk of the second tranche, to provide concessional credit to farmers, working capital loan for street vendors and free food grains for migrant workers.

As part of the measures for migrant workers, the finance minister said that eight crore migrant workers will get 5 kilogrammes of grains and 1 kilogramme of pulses free for two months.

Sitharaman also said that the Centre will bear the cost of Rs 3,500 crore to give free food grains and pulses to migrant workers. State governments will be responsible for implementation, identification of migrants and full distribution.

Also, to benefit of migrant workers, the government plans to allow inter-state portability of ration cards under the public distribution system (PDS) so as to allow them to use their cards anywhere to get food grains.

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Sitharaman said that the measure, dubbed 'One Nation, One Ration Card', is expected to benefit eight crore migrant labourers by August 2020 and will be extended to 100 percent coverage by March 2021.

She added that the Centre will launch a scheme for affordable rental housing for migrants and the urban poor. "This is to provide ease of living by converting government-funded housing in cities into Affordable Rental Housing Complexes (ARHC) under PPP mode through concessionaire," she said.

For small businesses, Sitharaman announced a two percent interest subvention under MUDRA-Shishu loans of up to Rs 50,000. This will cost the government Rs 1,500 crore, she said.

She also announced measures for street vendors, saying that the 50 lakh street vendors rendered jobless by the lockdown will be given a working capital loan of Rs 10,000 each. For street vendors, the working capital loan will cost Rs 5,000 crore.

2.5 cr farmers to be given Rs 2 lakh cr concessional credit

As many as 2.5 crore farmers will be provided Rs 2 lakh crore of concessional credit through Kisan Credit Cards, Sitharaman said on Thursday.

Also for post-harvest (Rabi) and current Kharif crop requirements in May and June, NABARD will provide Rs 30,000 crore additional emergency working capital funding for farmers through rural cooperative banks and regional rural banks.

NABARD will extend additional refinance support of Rs 30,000 crore for crop loan requirement of rural co-op banks and regional rural banks.

This, she said, would benefit 3 crore farmers, mostly small and marginal.

Sitharaman also gave a recap the relief measures announced by the government as part of the PM Garib Kalyan Yojana aimed at helping vulnerable groups during the nationwide lockdown.

With inputs from agencies

Updated Date: May 18, 2020 21:50:50 IST



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