Nirmala Sitharaman Unveils Second Tranche Of Covid-19 Package Aimed At Migrant Workers, Farmers

Here’s a look at the key highlights of the announcements made today.

File image of Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. (Source: PTI)
File image of Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. (Source: PTI)
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Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman unveiled Thursday the second tranche of India’s Rs 20-lakh-crore Covid-19 relief package, with a focus on migrant workers, farmers and urban poor. Wednesday’s announcements focused on small businesses, non-bank lenders and the power sector.

Out of the Rs 20 lakh crore, measures worth 15.57 lakh crore have now been unveiled, including Rs 7.09 lakh in stimuli announced by the Reserve Bank of India and the finance ministry in the early days of India’s coronavirus lockdown.

Here are the key highlights of today’s announcements:

  • Free food grain supply for two months for those migrants that are neither covered under National Food Security Act, 2013 or hold a state beneficiary card.
  • Technology systems being put into place to enable usage of ration cards for procuring food at any fair price shop in India.
  • Will launch a scheme for providing affordable rental housing accomodation for migrant labourers and urban poor.
  • Interest subvention of 2 percent for 12 months on MUDRA-Shishu loans—that are below Rs 50,000.
  • Special loans of up to Rs 10,000 to provide working capital for street vendors to restart business.
  • Extending credit-linked subsidy scheme—that subsidizes interest rates on affordable home loans—for middle-income families till March 2021.
  • Government will use CAMPA funds of Rs 6,000 crore to push employment.
  • Additional Rs 30,000 crore to be provided for crop loans through NABARD.
  • Concessional credit of up to Rs 2 lakh crore for Kisan Credit Card holders.

Read on for the details of the announcements made today:

Concession Credit Of Up To Rs 2 Lakh Crore For Kisan Credit Card Holders

The finance minister announced that a special drive will be undertaken to provide concessional credit to PM-KISAN beneficiaries through Kisan Credit Cards.

Up to 2.5 crore farmers will be covered and will benefit from credit flow of about Rs 2 lakh crore. This will also include those involved in animal husbandry and fisheries.


Rs 30,000 Crore Additional Emergency Capital For Farmers

The finance minister said that the government give Rs 30,000 crore as additional emergency working capital for farmers through the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development.

The NABARD already provides up to Rs 90,000 crore annually as working capital to farmer. Now the central government will infuse another Rs 30,000 crore towards the same.

NABARD will extend the refinance support for crop loan requirements of rural cooperative banks and regional rural banks.

The additional funds will be released immediately, finance minister said. This will help up to 3 crore small and marginal farmers.

Government To Use CAMPA Funds For Employment Push

The finance minister said that the Rs 6,000 crore lying in the Compensatory Afforestation Fund will be used to push employment opportunities in urban, semi-urban and rural areas.

This will help create job opportunities for tribals and adivasis, Sitharaman said.


Extension Of Credit Linked Subsidy Scheme On Home Loans

The credit linked subsidy scheme for those earning between Rs 6-18 lakh annually has now been extended up to March 2021 from March 2020 earlier.

The scheme provides a subsidy to middle-income earners on affordable home loan interest rates.

Almost 3.3 lakh families have benefitted from this and the extension will benefit another 2.5 lakh middle income families.

This will lead to an investment of over Rs 70,000 crore in housing, Sitharaman said.

Special Credit Facility For Street Vendors

The government will launch a special scheme within a month to facilitate easy access to credit for street vendors.

The facility will provide an initial working capital of up to Rs 10,000 to restart their businesses which have been adversely impacted by the Covid-19 lockdown.

This is expected to support 50 lakh street vendors and will provide liquidity of up to Rs 5,000 crore, the finance minister said.

Digital payments will also be incentivised through monetary rewards and enhanced credit will be given for prompt repayments.