FM announces relief for farmers, migrants, and street vendors   

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Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced the second tranche of relief measures as part of a special economic package of Rs 20 lakh crore for the people stricken by various adversities and financial crunch owing to the economic impact of COVID-19 pandemic.

While presenting a series of relief measures, the FM said that farmers and workers are the backbone of this nation and they serve all of us with their sweat and toil. Migrant workers require affordable rental housing in urban areas besides social security. Employment opportunities need to be created or the poor, including migrant and unorganised workers.

She added that the government is attentive to the needs of all the segments of the economy and society. She said: “Small business setups, especially those run by street vendors, support dignified livelihoods through Shishu MUDRA loans and they also need our patronage by way of business as well as caring attention in the form of social security and enhanced credit.”

Following are some short term and long-term measures for supporting the farmers, poor, street vendors, and small businesses:

  • Supply of free foodgrains to migrants for two months.
  • One Nation One Ration Card system to enabling migrants to access PDS (Ration) from any fair price shops across the country
  • Scheme to be launched for affordable rental housing complexes for urban poor and migrant workers
  • Relief of Rs 1500 crore through 2% interest subvention for 1 year for Shishu MUDRA loans
  • Credit facility of Rs 5000 crore for street vendors.
  • Extension of CLSS scheme for MIG under PMAY (urban) which will provide Rs 70,000 crore boost to the housing sector and middle-income group
  • Allocating Rs 6,000 crore for employment generation through CAMPA funds
  • Additional Rs 30,000 crore Emergency Working Capital through NABARD for farmers
  • Rs 2 lakh crore concessional credit boost under Kisan Credit Card Scheme to 2.5 crore farmers

Even the migrant labourers without ration card in the state/UT in which they are stranded at present will be eligible. The states/UTs shall be advised to put a mechanism for targeted distribution as envisaged in the scheme. The government shall be allocating 8 Lakh MT of food grain and 50,000 MT of chana and it will bear the entire outlay of Rs 3500 crore allocated for this initiative. This scheme will enable any migrant worker and its family to access the  PDS benefits from any fair price shop in the country.

Affordable Rental Housing Complexes: The Central Government will launch a scheme for migrant workers and urban poor through Affordable Rental Housing Complexes (ARHC). This will be done by converting government-funded houses in the cities into the ARHC under PPP mode.

Interest subvention of 2%: The Government of India will provide interest subvention of 2% for prompt payees for a period of 12 months to MUDRA Shishu loans, who have loans below Rs 50,000. This will provide relief of about Rs 1,500 crore to Shishu MUDRA loanee.

Special scheme coming up: The FM announced that within a month, a special scheme will be launched especially for street vendors. The scheme will facilitate easy access of credit to them. It will enable the most adversely impacted street vendors to restart their businesses. Under this scheme, the bank credit facility for initial working capital up to Rs 10,000 for each enterprise will be extended.

The scheme will cover urban as well as rural vendors doing business in the adjoining urban areas. The use of digital payments and timely repayments will be incentivized through monetary rewards. It is expected that 50 lakh street vendors will be benefitted from this scheme and credit of Rs 5,000 crore would flow to them.

The government has extended the Credit Linked Subsidy Scheme (CLSS) for MIG under PMAY (Urban) which will provide Rs 70,000 crore boost to the housing sector and the consumers from the middle income group.

The CLSS scheme will be valid for middle income group having annual Income between Rs 6 and 18 lakh. The scheme will benefit Rs 2.5 lakh middle income families during 2020-21. It will involve an investment of over Rs 70,000 crore in the housing sector. The scheme shall also create a significant number of jobs due to the boost being provided to the Housing sector. Further, it will also stimulate demand for steel, cement, transport and other construction materials.

Rs 6,000 crore is being provided under the Compensatory Afforestation Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) funds for creating employment. The fund will be used for Afforestation and Plantation works which will provide employment. It will cover the works related to soil & moisture conservation works, forest and wildlife-related infrastructure development, forest management, wildlife protection and management, forest protection, etc. The government of India will grant immediate approval to these plans amounting to Rs 6000 crore. This will create job opportunities in urban, semi-urban, and rural areas and also for Tribals (Adivasis).

Rs 30,000 crore Additional Emergency Working Capital will be provided for farmers through NABARD. The amount will be provided for meeting the crop loan requirement of Rural Cooperative Banks and RRBs. This refinance will be front-loaded and available on tap.  It will meet farmers’ post-harvest Rabi and current Kharif requirements. Rs 2 lakh crore credit boost to 2.5 crore farmers under the Kisan Credit Card Scheme will also be provided.

A special drive will be initiated to provide concessional credit to PM-KISAN beneficiaries through Kisan Credit Cards. Fisherman and animal husbandry farmers will also be included in this drive. This will inject additional liquidity of  Rs 2 lakh crore in the farm sector. 2.5 crore farmers will be covered.

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