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Second tranche of stimulus package focuses on migrants, street vendors & farmers

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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.

“They shall be given 5 kg of 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 per cent 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.

Sitharaman also said, “The government will support nearly 50 lakh street vendors with Rs 5,000 crore special credit facility”.

The government will launch a special scheme within a month to facilitate easy access to credit for street vendors to offset the adverse impact on livelihoods of street vendors. The credit facility will have an initial working capital of up to Rs 10,000 cr. She said the scheme will provide liquidity of Rs 50,000 cr.

She also announced concessional credit boost worth Rs 2 lakh crore to 2.5 crore farmers through Kisan Credit Cards issued by the government.

“A special drive will be undertaken to provide concessional credit to PM-KISAN beneficiaries through Kisan Credit Cards. Fishermen and Animal husbandry farmers will also be included in this drive,” the finance minister said. The move by the Centre will enable farmers to gain access to institutional credit at a concessional interest rate.

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.

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