New Delhi | Jagran Business Desk: Amid the coronavirus lockdown in the nation, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday announced direct cash transfers for farmers, poor and Jan Dhan account holders which will benefit 8.69 farmers across the country. 

Addressing a press conference on Thursday afternoon, the Finance Minister said that Rs 2,000 will be transfered through direct cash transfers to famers, poor and Jan Dhan account holders by the first week of April.

"8.69 crore farmers to be immediately benefited through direct cash transfers. Installment of Rs 2000 in the first week of April will be transferred," she said, as quoted by news agency ANI.

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Sitharaman said that farmers, MGNREGA workers, poor widows, pensioners and divyangs will get benefits under the DBT cash transfers. 

"Farmers receive Rs 6,000 annual from PM-KISAN. We will now be giving the first installment of that as a front-loaded matter, so that at the beginning of the year they will get Rs 2,000," Sitharaman said, as quoted by PTI.

Under the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) scheme, the Centre transfers an amount of Rs 6,000 per year, in three equal instalments, directly into the bank accounts of the farmers, subject to certain exclusion criteria relating to higher income status. 

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The decision to transfer the amounts directly to farmers' account was made by the government amid the 21-day nation-wide lockdown in the country to control the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Earlier this week, the Finance Minister had said that a package is under works and will be announced. 

With the coronavirus lockdown hitting the Indian industry hard and causing job losses, Sitharaman had said an economic package to help tide over the crisis will be announced very soon.

Sitharaman had told the reporters that an announcement on the package would be made sooner than later.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi last week had constituted a task force headed by the Finance Minister to work out package for economy hit by coronavirus.

(With PTI inputs)

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma