FM Nirmala Sitharaman’s Second tranche provides relief for Migrants


Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman under the second tranche of ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan (Self Reliant Campaign)’ of Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared that over eight-crore migrants not covered under the National Food Security Act (NFSA) or State’s scheme, will get free foodgrains for two months wherever they are stationed.

Unveiling the measures, Sitharaman said the tranche has total liquidity support of ₹2.46-lakh crore and investment expectation of ₹70,000 crore. She had disclosed the first tranche on Wednesday which provided support of ₹5.94- lakh crore for the economy.

Nine measures
In the second tranche, Sitharaman announced nine measures; three for migrant workers, two for farmers and one each for small businesses, street vendors, housing sector and employment generation. With this, the government has unveiled 25 measures in two days under the campaign to revive the economy in Covid-19 times. The package proposes to offer 5 kg of grains per person and 1 kg chana per family per month for two months to migrants who are neither NFSA or State Card beneficiaries. Expected to benefit about 8-crore migrants, the Centre will bear the entire cost of ₹3,500 crore. States will implement this scheme based on the list they have prepared, Sitharaman said.

‘One Nation-One Ration Card’ scheme has also been expanded to enable migrant beneficiaries access public distribution system from any fair price shop in the country. About 67-crore beneficiaries under the PDS are expected to be covered by August and another 13-crore by March next year.

Affordable housing
The government also plans to launch a scheme under the Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana that will provide houses at affordable rent for migrant labourers/urban poor. The proposal is to convert government-funded housing in the cities into Affordable Rental Housing Complexes under the PPP mode through concessionaire. Also, manufacturing units, industries, institutions, associations will be incentivised to develop and operate Affordable Rental Housing Complexes on their private land. State government agencies/Central Government organisations will also be incentivised to do so.

Sitharaman said the government has decided to bring an interest subvention scheme on SHISHU loan under the MUDRA scheme for small businesses. This loan has a cap of ₹50,000. A three-month loan moratorium is already in place. So, post May, the government will provide interest subvention of 2 per cent for prompt payees for a period of 12 months. The Minister added that the total beneficiaries under this scheme will be more than 3 crore, provided all the loan accounts have ₹50,000. The total outlay is estimated at ₹1,500 crore.

For street vendors, the government plans to launch a special scheme within a month to facilitate easy access to initial working capital of up to ₹10,000. This is expected to support nearly 50-lakh street vendors with liquidity support of ₹5,000 crore. She informed that vendors using digital payments will be incentivised through monetary rewards and enhanced working capital credit.

Kisan credit
The government plans to bring 2.5-crore additional farmers under Kisan Credit Card to help them access concessional loan from banks, amounting to ₹2 lakh crore. The expanded list of KCC will include fishermen and Animal Husbandry farmers. Under KCC, loan is available at 7 per cent interest after interest subvention of 2 per cent. If the loan is paid on time, an additional subsidy of 3 per cent is provided, making the effective rate 4 per cent.

The government has also decided to provide ₹30,000-crore support mainly to small and marginal farmers. For this, Nabard will extend additional refinance support of ₹30,000 crore for crop loan requirement of Rural Co-op Banks and RRBs over and above the normal refinance of ₹90,000 crore. Finance Minister said this amount will be front-loaded and will provide on-tap facility to 33 State Co-operative banks, 351 District Co-operative banks and 43 RRBs. This facility is expected to help around 3-crore farmers meet post-harvest (Rabi) & current Kharif requirement in May and June.

Sitharaman said the Credit Linked Subsidy Scheme for Middle Income Group (with annual income of ₹6-18 lakh), which ended on March 31, has been extended till March next year.