New Delhi, Mar 26, 2020: To help the economy come out of the coronavirus shock, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday announced a Rs 1.7 lakh crore package that would largely benefit unorganised sector workers, especially daily wage workers, and urban and rural poor.
"A package is ready for the poor who need immediate help like migrant workers and urban and rural poor. No one will go hungry. The package is worth Rs 1.7 lakh crore," Nirmala Sitharaman said at a press conference NDTV reported.
Announcing Garib Kalyan Yojana, Sitharaman said 80 crore poor or two-third of population would get 5 kg rice or wheat free for the next three months. This will be over and above the 5 kg they already get. Additionally, they will also get 1 kg of preferred pulse.
Sitharaman also announced Rs 50 lakh per person as medical insurance for paramedics, ASHA workers and doctors.
"There will be Rs 50 lakh insurance per health care worker as a medical insurance cover for three months. Hopefully, we would be able to contain the virus in this period," Sitharaman said.
Ahead of Sitharaman’s press conference, the Sensex jumped 1500 points or over 5 per cent to cross the 30,000 mark. The rupee also rose 64 paisa against the dollar to settle at 75.24.
The Finance Minister also said 8.69 crore farmers would be given Rs 2,000 immediately through direct cash transfer under the existing PM Kisaan Yojana. "Installment of Rs 2000 in the first week of April will be transferred," she said.
An ex-gratia of Rs 1,000 in two installments over three months would be given to poor senior citizens over 60 years, widows and disabled. "This will benefit 3 crore poor senior citizens, widows and disabled," she said.
Earlier this week, Sitharaman had announced a series of regulatory and compliance related relaxations for taxpayers, MSMEs, company directors and bank customers.
In a significant relief for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, the Finance Ministry raised the threshold default by 100 times for companies being taken to Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) to Rs 1 crore from Rs 1 lakh now.
The government extended deadlines for income tax and Goods and Services Tax (GST). The deadline for filing monthly GST summary returns due in March, April and May was extended till June 30 with no interest, penalty and late fee for those with turnover below Rs 5 crore, and a reduced 9 per cent interest on taxpayers above Rs 5 crore turnover threshold from current 18 per cent.
The deadline for filing I-returns for financial year 2018-19 and that Aadhaar-PAN linking has also been extended to June 30 from March 31.
On the consumer banking side, the government provided relaxation to debit cardholders to withdraw money from any bank’s ATM without paying extra charges for next three months, while fee for maintaining minimum balance in bank accounts have also been waived for this period.