Nirmala Sitharaman Press Conference Live: FM Announces Rs 1.7 lakh Crore Coronavirus Relief Package

Catch live updates on announcements made by Nirmala Sitharaman here.

Nirmala Sitharaman, India’s finance minister, speaks during a press conference in New Delhi. (Photographer: T. Narayan/Bloomberg)
Nirmala Sitharaman, India’s finance minister, speaks during a press conference in New Delhi. (Photographer: T. Narayan/Bloomberg)

All Announcements Today

Below is a roundup of announcements made today by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman under the government’s fiscal package to fight economic stress from the covid-19 virus.

Package to take care of poor, workers and those who need immediate help.This PM Gareeb Kalyan Scheme will be worthRs 1.7 lakh crore. We are looking at cash transfers and food security. Before that we want to thank those fighting on the frontlines of this battle. For them we are providing a medical insurance cover of Rs 50 lakh per person. This covers doctors, nurses, paramedical staff, sanitation workers…all in such services. Also 20 lakh health services and ancillary workers will benefit from the insurance scheme


  • PM Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana will cover 80 crore poor people
  • Each one will get free 5 kg of rice and wheat additional to the current 5kg allocation for next 3 months
  • We will also give every household 1 kg of preferred pulse free for the next 3 months
  • This can be availed in two installments.


Eight specific announcements being made, largely covered by DBT and including farmers, MNREGA, poor widows, pensioners and divyaang, women with Jan Dhan Yojana, women covered by Ujwala scheme, women in self help groups covered by livelihood missions. Organised sector workers – registered with EPFO, Construction workers. Last, those under district mineral fund coverage


  • Farmers to get first instalment of PM Kisan frontloaded. To benefit 8.69 crore farmers
  • Wage increase in MNREGA from Rs 182 to Rs 202. To benefit 5 crore families, each worker will get additional Rs 2,000
  • 3 crore poor senior citizens, widows, disabled to get one-time ex-gratia amount of Rs 1,000 in two instalments
  • 20 crore women Jan Dhan account holders will get an ex gratia amount of Rs 500 per month for 3 months
  • Women in 8.3 crore BPL families covered under Ujwala scheme will get free cylinders for 3 months
  • Doubling collateral free loan amount to Rs 20 lakh for women in self help groups. 7 crore households to benefit through 63 lakh SHGs
  • Government will pay EPF contribution for employer + employee for 3 months. For those establishments which have upto 100 employees and 90 percent employees earn less than Rs 15,000 pm. Tol benefit 80 lakh workers
  • PF Scheme regulations to be amended to allow non-refundable advance of 75 percent of amount in account or 3 months of wages – whichever is lower. To benefit 4.8 crore workers.
  • To direct state government to utilise Rs 31,000 crore funds in construction welfare fund to support 3.5 crore construction sector workers
  • To use district mineral welfare fund to fund medical medical testing, screening

Watch The Full Conference Here

When asked about where the schemes will be funded from, the Finance Minister said that at this stage the government is more concerned about reaching out to those who need help.

“Will try helping those poor who do not have Jan Dhan bank accounts,” she added in response to a different question.

To Help Testing And Screening Activities

The central government has directed the state government to utilise the mineral fund for supplementing all types of medical and screening activities necessary to fight the spread of coronavirus.

For The Unorganised Sector Under PM Gareeb Kalyan Yojana

There is a welfare fund for building and other construction workers. It has 3.5 crore registered workers and Rs 31,000 crore. Government will give directions to state governments to utilise these funds to protect these workers from economic harm, Sitharaman said.

For The Organised Sector Under PM Gareeb Kalyan Yojana

The government of India will pay the EPF contripution of both employer and employee - 12 percent each - for the next three months. This is for those establishments which have over 100 employees, 90 percent of which earn below Rs 15,000 per month.

EPFO scheme regulations will be amended because of the pandemic situation to allow non-refundable advance of 75 percent from their contingency fund, or three months wages, whichever is lower. This will benefit 4.8 crore workers registered with EPF.

Direct Benefit Transfer Announcements

Sitharaman has now moved on to announcing measures under direct benefit transfer. This will touch farmers, MGNREGA workers, poor widows, pensioners and disabled, women under DBT and those under Ujjwala, self help group women, construction workers.

  • Farmers who currently receive Rs 6,000 annually, will be given the first installment of the next financial year immediately. 8.7 crore farmers will benefit from it.
  • Additional Rs 2,000 being given to per worker by increasing wage rate under MGNREGA.
  • Senior citizens, widows and the disabled will get a one-time amount of Rs 1,000 over the next three months, in two installments. This will benefit 3 crore poor people. This will be a direct benefit transfer.
  • The 20 crore women Jan Dhan account holders will get a one-time amount of Rs 500 per month for the next three months.
  • Women under the Ujjwala scheme will be given free cylinders for three months. This is expected to benefit 8.3 crore families below the poverty line.
  • 7 crore households, through 63 lakh women self help groups, will get Rs 20 lakh in collateral-free loans. They get upto Rs 10 lakh collateral-free loans currently.

Pradhan Mantri Gareeb Kalyaan Ann Yojana

  • 80 crore poor people - nearly two thirds of the population - will get five kg of rice or wheat per month for three months, in addition to the 5 kg they already receive, for free.
  • 1 kg of pulse, according to regional preferences, to each household will be given for the next three months. This can be availed of in two installments.
“We do not want anyone to go hungry,” Sitharaman said.
India Has Enough Food to Feed Poor If There’s a Prolonged Shutdown

Government Announces Prime Minister Garib Kalyan Scheme

“It’s only 36 hours since the lockdown has been imposed. Now we have come with a package which immediately take care of the welfare concerns of the poor and suffering workers and those who need immediate help,” Sitharaman said.

The package will include cash transfer and food subsidy, she said.

The package will be worth Rs 1.7 lakh crore.

The package will also include a medical insurance cover of Rs 50 lakh per person to those at frontlines of fighting virus.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s press conference has begun.

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Nirmala Sitharaman, finance minister and head of the Coronavirus Task Force formed under directions of the prime minister, is set to hold a press conference shortly in New Delhi.

She is expected to reveal a financial plan for the different segments of the society as India’s economy takes a hit due to the 21-day complete lockdown. In a press meet on Tuesday, hours before Narendra Modi announced the lockdown, Sitharaman had said that the task force is working on a relief plan and that it will be announced “sooner rather than later”.

The Union Cabinet, led by the prime minister, yesterday decided to provide 7 kg of ration to 80 crore people. Subsidised food grains will be provided—wheat at Rs 2 per kg and rice at Rs 3 per kg.

India’s 21-Day Lockdown May Shave 2 Percentage Points Off GDP Growth