Addressing the nation on Thursday, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharam announced a series of cash aid to the country’s farmers and rural economy as part of a special relief plan announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Sitharaman said, “The announcement will be for migrant workers, street vendors, the self-employed, small farmers and the poor. There are nine stages that will be announced – three for migrants, one for street vendors, one on housing, one on job creation for tribals, two for farmers, etc.
She adds that today’s announcement is part of a bigger picture and that more announcements to the poor are likely, if they haven’t already. She adds: “A lot of things can overlap in the future.”
To begin with, FM approved a loan application of 63 lakh worth Rs86,600cr in the agricultural sector from March 1 to April 30, 2020.
In addition, the government authorized refinancing to the tune of Rs 29,500 by cooperative banks and regional rural banks in March 2020. Refinancing was carried out by NABARD.
In addition, in March, the government provided support worth Rs4,200cr to states under the Rural Infrastructure Development Fund for infrastructure improvement.
Meanwhile, a working capital limit of Rs6,700cr has been sanctioned for the purchase of agricultural products from state government entities since March.
The country has been in lockdown since March 25, hampering businesses in different sectors, from small to large. These measures are essential decisions for agriculture which represents 70% of Indian households.
On Wednesday, Sitharaman announced the first installment of the Special Economic Package where various reliefs and benefits were announced for taxpayers, MSMEs, NBFCs, real estate and other sectors. Even the investment push was given in the form of an EPF account.