At a press briefing on economic relief measures by the Central Government amid COVID-19 pandemic, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday announced a 'PM Gareeb Kalyan Yojana' that will include cash transfers to the poor and migrants. The Rs 1.7 lakh crore scheme will include food security and cash transfers.
- FM said that roughly 80 crore people will be covered under the 'Pradhan Mantri Gareeb Kalyan Ann Yojana' (food scheme).
- Above the current entitlement of 5 kg rice/wheat through PDS, each household will get another 5 kg per person for the next three months for free. The Government of India will be spending Rs 40,000 crore spent for this purpose.
- To ensure adequate availability of protein, individuals will also get one kg of any one variety of preferred and region-specific choice of pulse per household for the next three months for free. The government will be spending Rs 5,000 crore for the purpose.
It is Sitharaman's second briefing in three days.
These announcements have been made in light of the COVID-19 pandemic that has called for a government-imposed lockdown of 21 days to curb the spread of the outbreak which has already affected 649 people in India already. India's death toll is at 13.
Latest data released by the Union Health Ministry showed that Maharashtra has reported the highest number of COVID-19 cases so far at 124, followed by Kerala at 118.