Lockdown package: Poor Indian women given cash, grain, pulses, cooking gas to feed their families

  • The central government will provide free food grain and pulses to low income families, under the new Pradhan Mantri Gareeb Kalyan Anna Yojana.
  • Under the Ujjwala scheme, government also will provide free cooking gas cylinders for the next three months to 83 million people.
  • As many as 200 million women with Jan Dhan account holders will receive ₹500 a month for the next three months.
Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced a ₹1.7 crore stimulus package to ensure 800 million poor people in India are not affected by the lockdown and its resultant loss of livelihoods. They will be supplied with food grain, pulses, cash and cooking gas for the next three months.

“We want to make sure that no one goes hungry,” said Sitharaman in a press conference today (March26). These announcements were made a part of the Pradhan Mantri Gareeb Kalyan Anna Yojana.

Most of the schemes are directed towards women to ensure that the benefits are transferred to families.

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“When our 83 million sisters receive food and gas and cash it will help 350 million people in families,” said Anurag Thakur, minister of state for finance.

When asked if there are more schemes in the offing, Sitharaman said, “We made sure that women, widows, disabled and the poorest of the poor are taken care of.”

Here are her announcements that can help poor households.

Free grain and pulses for 3 months

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Over and above the 5 kilos of either rice or wheat that families below the poverty line receive, they will be given another 5 kilos rice/wheat free of cost for the next three months. The government will also offer 1 kg of the preferred pulse or dal. This can be collected in two instalments by every household from ration shops.

Free cooking gas cylinders to 83 million people

Under the Ujjwala scheme, 83 million women will be provided free cooking gas cylinders for the next three months. Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 1 May 2016 to provide subsidised cooking cylinders to poor households.

“This will ensure that women will have enough means to cook the grain we are providing,” said Sithraraman.
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Cash transfer to women Jan Dhan account holders

As many as 200 million women with Jan Dhan account holders will receive ₹500 a month for the next three months. This amount will be transferred directly to the bank accounts. “People also need cash in hand,” said Sitharaman.

Loans to women self-help groups will be doubled

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Collateral-free loans as per Deen Dayal Yogana given to women Self help groups (SHGs) will be doubled to ₹20 lakhs. This will help 6.3 million SHGs and that would benefit 70 million people who depend on their income.

READ ALSO: These are the highlights of the Finance Minister’s speech on financial stimulus to battle the impact of coronavirus lockdown
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