New Delhi | Jagran Business Desk: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday announced an economic package of Rs 1.70 lakh crore, with focus on marginalised section, amid the coronavirus lockdown. 

She announed that people below povery line will get an additional 5 kg foodgrain (rice or wheat) in addition to the existing 5 kg quota for the next three months under the Pradhan mantro Gareeb Kalyan Yojana. 

"Each poor will get 5 kg grains per person per month for the next three months for free, one kg of pulses for each household for free. This will be over and above the current 5 kg they get under NFSA," Sitharaman announced while addressing the media. 

The finance minister also said that 1 kg of preferred pulses will be give to the people for free every month for the next three months. 

Cash transfers to help poor

Cash transfer based on DBT: Farmers who get Rs 6,000 annually under PM-Kisan will get first installment of Rs 2,000 in addition which will be given immediately in the first week of April.

Direct Benefit Transfer Scheme: Poor widows poor pensioners and poor disabled will be given ex-gratia an additional amount of Rs 1000 over the next three months

Old age, Divyang, pensioners: 3 crore people covered, one-time amount of additional Rs 1000 in two installments through DBT (hence no middlemen) over 3 months to be given

Increase in MNREGA wage to Rs 202 a day from Rs 182 to benefit 5 crore families.

20 crore women Jan Dhan Yojana account holders will get Rs 500 per month for the next three months.

Announcements for Organised Sector

Government to pay EPF contribution both for employee and employer, 12 per cent each, for the next three months. 

"Government of India will pay the Employees' Provident Fund (EPF) contribution, both of employer and employee, put together it will be 24%, this will be for next 3 months.This is for those establishments which have upto 100 employees and 90% of them earn less that 15,000," announced the FM. 

Provident Fund schemes regulation to be amended to allow withdrawal of non-refundable advance of up to 75 per cent of the amount or three months' wages (whichever is lower). The move will benefit 4.8 crores EPFO registered workers.

Other announcements

FM announced a Rs 50 lakh insurance cover for healthcare workers who are at the forefront of dealing with coronavirus pandemic.

Ujjwala beneficiaries to get free cooking gas (LPG) cylinders in next three months; this will benefit 8.3 crore BPL families

Collateral-free loan doubled to Rs 20 lakh to 63 lakh women self-help groups; to impact 7 crore households.

District Mineral Fund: Central Govt to request State Govts to use this fund to augment medical testing and screening and providing health attention.

Welfare for building and construction workers, registered 3.5 crore workers to be benefited, Central Govt has given orders to State Govts to use fund (Rs31,000 crore) to provide relief.

Annnouncements made earlier this week

Earlier this week, Sitharaman had said that a stimulus package to help tide over the crisis caused by the coronavirus outbreak and the subsequent lockdown in the country will be announced very soon.

Analysts have pegged the cost of the coronavirus lockdown at USD 120 billion (approximately Rs 9 lakh crore) or 4 per cent of the GDP. They have sharply cut the growth estimates while stressing on the need to announce an economic package.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), which is scheduled to announce its first bi-monthly policy review on April 3, is set to deliver deep rate cuts and it should also be assumed that the fiscal deficit targets will be breached, news agency PTI quoted analysts as saying.

On Tuesday, Sitharman had announced a host of relief measures for people inthe wake of the virus outbreak and lockdown hitting the economy, including extension of deadlines for filing of income tax and GST returns.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a three-week complete lockdown of the country to prevent the spread of the coronavirus infections in the country. He had also constituted a task force headed by the Finance Minister to work out package for economy hit by coronavirus. 

Posted By: Abhinav Gupta