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FM Announces Packages for Poor Women to Help Sustain Household Amid Lockdown to Contain COVID-19

File photo of Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman (PTI)

File photo of Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman (PTI)

Sitharaman said that there are around 3 crore aged widows and people in divyang category, who are vulnerable due to economic disruption caused by COVID-19. Government will give them Rs 1,000 to tide over difficulties during next 3 months.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday announced the Pradhan Mantri Gareeb Kalyan Yojana scheme, an economic relief package worth Rs 1.7 lakh crore to help the poor tide over financial distress arising because of the national lockdown imposed to check the spread of coronavirus in India. There are special announcements for women to meet the demands of household with added financial help to widows.

The package designed for daily wage workers, urban and rural poor promises security to all. "No one will go hungry, it is a 1.7 lakh crore package," FM Nirmala Sitharaman said at the press conference.

To meet the household expenses, the package promises a total of 20.40 crores PMJDY women account-holders an ex-gratia of Rs 500 per month for next three months. This will help them run their household during this period of lockdown and precautions. For this purpose, the government will spend Rs 31,000 crores.

Under PM Garib Kalyan Yojana, gas cylinders would be provided to 8 crore poor families for the next three months, absolutely free of cost. Three gas cylinders would be provided during this period and Rs 13000 crores would be provided for this purpose.

There is support coming for the self-help groups (SHGs) of women. The women organised through 63 lakhs self-help groups are said to support 6.85 crore households. For them, "limit of collateral free lending would be increased from Rs 10 to Rs 20 lakhs" and is designed to "help them by additional credit availability."

The finance minister further said, "Through 63 lakh SHGs in the country, which benefit 7 crore households, under the National Rural Livelihood, they get up to Rs 10 lakh loans with collateral. We’re doubling that to Rs 20 lakhs. This applies immediately to all SHG women.”

Empowering SHGs by women is important as it is mainly meant for marginalized women.

While announcing support for senior citizens (above 60 years), it has a plan for support to widows along with divyang. Sitharaman said that there are around 3 crore aged widows and people in divyang category, who are vulnerable due to economic disruption caused by COVID-19. Government will give them Rs 1,000 to tide over difficulties during next three months. Rs 3000 crores has been provided for this purpose in the PM Garib Kalyan Package.
first published:March 26, 2020, 16:06 IST