New Delhi: With focus on 7 sectors including MGNREGA, education and health, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Sunday announced fifth and last tranche of the Rs 20-lakh crore COVID-19 packages as part of the “Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan” (Self-reliant India campaign). Addressing a press conference today, the Finance Minister said that the government will allocate an additional Rs 40,000 crores to MGNREGA in order to help workers during monsoon. Also Read - Nepal Airport Under Renovation Amid Coronavirus Lockdown
“Considering that Monsoon is approaching and migrant workers are heading home because of the coronavirus-induced lockdown, the additional allocation will ensure jobs for them in rural areas. The move will also help in creation of larger number of durable and livelihood assets including water conservation assets, which, in turn, will boost the rural economy through higher production,” FM Sitharaman said. Also Read - Bangladesh Govt Decides Not to Extend COVID-19 Shutdown
Various health reforms and initiatives including integrated public health labs in all districts, implementation of National digital health mission were also announced by Sitharaman today. She said that public expenditure on health will be increased and investments in the grassroots levels will be strengthened in urban and rural areas. Also Read - Facility of Instant PAN Through Aadhaar Based E-KYC Launched
Meanwhile, in a bid to give relief to companies defaulting on loans due to the COVID-19 stress, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said no fresh insolvency will be initiated for one year under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code. Apart from that, coronavirus-related debt will be excluded from definition of default.
She also announced decriminalisation of the Companies Act in violations involving minor technical and procedural defaults including shortcoming in CSR reporting, inadequacies in board report, filing defaults and delay in holding AGM.
Here’s What All Happened:
The Finance Minister began her presser by quoting Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying that as a nation, we stand at a very crucial juncture. ‘Such a big disaster is a signal for India, it has brought a message and opportunity’, she stated.
In order to prove the resolve of an Aatmanirbhar Desh, land, labour, liquidity and laws have all been emphasised in ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat Package’, the FM said adding that the crisis and the challenge is an opportunity to build a self reliant India.
Appreciation the role of Direct Benefit Transfers (DBT), Sitharaman said that 20 crore Jan Dhan account holding women got Rs 10,025 crores, 2.2 crore building and construction workers got Rs 3,950 crores, 6.81 crore people got free LPG cylinders and 12 lakh EPFO holders benefited from non-refundable advance
She also lauded the efforts of FCI, NAFED and states for ‘giving pulses and grains in huge quantities, despite logistical challenges’. “Pulses too were given 3 months in advance. I appreciate the concerted efforts of FCI, NAFED and states.”
She also noted that the government provided food grains to those who needed it. “Soon after lockdown, we came with PM Garib Kalyan Package, we provided food grains to those who needed it, we did not want to scout for money to search for grains. Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package used technology to do direct benefit transfer to people, we could do what we did because of the initiatives taken during the last few years”, Sitharaman said.
On Saturday, the Finance Minister had unveiled the fourth set of the economic package for eight sectors — coal, minerals, defence production, civil aviation, power distribution, social infrastructure, space and atomic energy.
Earlier on Friday, Sitharaman had announced relief measures for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), migrant labourers, farmers and street vendors, and the agriculture sector and allied activities.