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Friday, 15 May 2020
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Centre announces measures to support migrants, farmers, small businesses (Part-II)

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Union Finance & Corporate Affairs Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced the second tranche of measures under special economic package of Rs 20 lakh crore on 14 May 2020. 
 
The second tranche of short term and long-term measures were specifically taken towards migrant labourers, street vendors, migrant urban poor, small traders, self-employed people, small farmers and housing.
 
In a move to support migrant labourers, additional food grains will be provided to all the states/Union Territories at the rate of five kg per migrant labourer and one kg chana per family per month for May and June, 2020 free of cost. Migrant labourers not covered under the National Food Security Act or without a ration card in the state as well as Union Territories in which they are stranded at present will also be eligible. 
 
The states and Union Territories will be advised to put a mechanism for targeted distribution as envisaged in the scheme. Around eight lakh tonne of food grain and 50,000 tonne of chana will be allocated. The entire outlay of Rs 3,500 crore for the next two months will be borne by the Centre. 
 
A pilot scheme for portability of ration cards ‘One Nation One Ration Card’ will be extended to 23 states. Approximately, 67 crore beneficiaries covering 83 percent of PDS population will be covered by National portability of Ration cards by August 2020. The scheme will enable a migrant worker and their family members to access PDS benefits from any Fair Price Shop in the country. The government will achieve 100 percent National portability by March 2021. The move will ensure that the people in transit, especially migrant workers, can also get the benefit of PDS benefit across the country.
 
The Central government will launch a scheme under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) for migrant workers and urban poor to provide ease of living at affordable rent. This will be done through converting government funded houses in cities into Affordable Rental Housing Complexes (ARHC) under public-private partnership (PPP) mode through concessionaire. The government will incentivise manufacturing units, industries, institutions, associations will develop ARHC on their private land and operate. It will also incentivise state government agencies/ Central government organisations on similar lines to develop ARHC and operate them. 
 
The Centre will also provide interest subvention of two percent for prompt payees for a period of 12 months to MUDRA Shishu loanees, who have loans below Rs 50,000. The current portfolio of MUDRA Shishu loans is around Rs 1.62 lakh crore. The move will provide relief of around Rs 1,500 crore to Shishu MUDRA loanee. 
 
To provide support to street vendors, a special scheme will be launched within a month to facilitate easy access to credit to street vendors for enabling them to restart their businesses. Under this scheme, 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 adjoining urban areas. The measure is expected to support 50 lakh street vendors. It will provide liquidity of Rs 5,000 crore.
 
Apart from this, a major boost has been provided to the housing sector and middle income group through extension of Credit Linked Subsidy Scheme (CLSS). The CLSS for middle income group with an annual income between Rs six and Rs18 lakh will be extended up to March 2021. Around 2.5 lakh middle-income families will be benefitted during 2020-21. It will lead to investment of over Rs 70,000 crore in the housing sector. A large number of jobs will be created and also stimulate demand for steel, cement, transport and other construction materials.
 
The government also made another major announcement to generate employment using CAMPA funds. Approximately Rs 6,000 crore of funds under Compensatory Afforestation Management & Planning Authority (CAMPA) will be used towards afforestation and plantation works, including in urban areas, artificial regeneration, assisted natural regeneration, forest management, soil & moisture conservation works, forest protection, forest and wildlife related infrastructure development, wildlife protection and management, among others. The Centre will immediately grant approval to these plans amounting to Rs 6,000 crore. This will create employment opportunities in urban, semi-urban and rural areas and also for Tribals.
 
An additional emergency working capital funding for farmers through the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) was also announced. The apex development financial institution will extend additional refinance support of Rs 30,000 crore for meeting crop loan requirement of Rural Cooperative Banks and RRBs. This refinance will be front-loaded and available on tap. The amount is over and above Rs 90,000 crore that will be provided by NABARD to this sector in the normal refinance route during 2020. The move will benefit around three crore farmers, mostly small and marginal and it will meet their post-harvest Rabi and current Kharif requirements.
 
A special drive to provide concessional credit to PM-KISAN beneficiaries through Kisan Credit Cards was also announced by the Finance Minister. Fishermen and animal husbandry farmers will also be included in the drive. This will enable such farmers to gain access to institutional credit at concessional interest rate. The government will inject additional liquidity of Rs two lakh crore in the farm sector and 2.5 crore farmers will be covered under the initiative.
 
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