Migrant workers, farmers in focus in 2nd tranche of Covid-19 package

Migrant workers, farmers in focus in 2nd tranche of Covid-19 package

In the second tranche of Covid-19 special package, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the migrant workers, farmers, street vendors and tribal people are in the focus under the Aatma Nirbhar Bharat. Sitharaman said, "Today’s initiatives focus on migrant workers, street vendors, small traders, self-employed people and small farmers."

In an effort to respond to the criticism of the Modi government over the plight of migrants, Sitharaman listed out how the Centre has aided the states in providing food to migrant workers staying at various shelter homes and camps. She said aid worth over Rs 11,000 crore was extended to the states for providing three-times-a-day meals to migrant workers staying in camps.

Sitharaman said the Centre has taken measures to generate employment through MNREGA for migrant workers going back home from other states. She said over 14.62 crore mandays of employment have been generated till May 13 across 1.87 lakh gram panchayats.

She said up to 50 per cent more people have registered for work under MNREGA in May this year compared to same month in 2019. The minimum wage has been increased from Rs 188 to Rs 202.

She announced nine steps under the second tranche of Covid-19 package of which "three are related to migrant workers, two related to farmers, one related to street vendors and one related to employment generation in tribal dominated areas" among others.

Sitharaman said over 3 crore farmers, most of them marginal farmers, have already benefitted from loans worth Rs 4.22 lakh crore. They have been given loan moratorium for 12 months. They don't need to pay premium during this period, Sitharaman said.

25 lakh new Kisan Credit Cards have been sanctioned with a loan limit of Rs 25,000 crore during the period of Covid-19 outbreak, the finance minister.

She further said that the government has given liquidity support to farmers and rural economy during Covid-19 period.