Former Finance Minister Chidambaram lists out how much the government should pay Indians during the lockdown

  • Former Finance Minister of India P Chidambaram listed out his thoughts on how much the government should spend to support poor farmers and wage employees.
  • In his statement, Chidambaram said, “We owe a duty to extend our total support to the Prime Minister and the central and the state governments.
  • His tips include direct benefit transfer and home delivery of ration to beneficiaries.
Former Finance Minister P Chidambaram listed out various ways in which the government should support the poor amid the country-wide lockdown. PM Modi announced a 21-day lockdown yesterday (March 24) to fight Coronavirus.

In his statement, Chidambaram said, “We owe a duty to extend our total support to the Prime Minister and the central and the state governments.”

Half of the Indian population still survive on daily wages, and the lockdown will leave them in the middle of nowhere. The experience for India is going to be a lot different from what Italy, France, and China may have experienced because of its vast majority that lives below the poverty line.

Construction workers, domestic help, sanitation workers in private establishments, daily wage labourers in small shops and factories, film production crews across countries, and many more like account for nearly 90% of India’s population - will experience the heat of this lockdown.

Here is what Chidambaram listed out in his statement for the Indian government

  1. For farmers, the government should double the amount paid/payable under PM-KISAN (to ₹12,000) and transfer the additional amount immediately to the bank accounts of beneficiaries.

  2. It should bring tenant farmers under PM-KISAN. Take the list from the state governments and transfer ₹12,000 (in two instalments) to the bank accounts of each farmer.

  3. Take the list of registered Mahatma Gandhi Employment Guarantee Act 2005 (MGNREGA) workers and transfer the sum of ₹3000 into the bank account of beneficiaries.

  4. For the urban poor, take the Jan Dhan accounts with the urban branches of the banks and transfer a sum of ₹6000 into the bank account of each beneficiary.

  5. Offer to every ration card holder, through the ration shops, 10kg of rice or wheat absolutely free, as a one-time measure in the next 21 days. He also added that the government should arrange for home delivery of this.

  6. All registered employers to maintain current levels of employment and wages. It should guarantee such employers that the government will reimburse the wages of the employees within 30 days of payment.

  7. Open a register in every ward or block and invite people who have not received payment under any of the categories listed above to register their name, address and Aadhar. Street people and destitute will fall under this category. After minimal verification, open a bank account in each name, seed it with Aadhar and transfer Rs 3000 into each account.

  8. Extend the deadline for payment of any kind of taxes until June 30. In the interim banks can be instructed to lend to panchayats, municipalities and corporations against the security of the tax receivables.

  9. Instruct banks to extend the date for any kind of EMI payment until June 30.

  10. Cut GST rates by 5% on all wage goods, essential services and all goods of mass consumption from April 1 to June 30.
SEE ALSO: India should be open to accept assistance from China, according to a political scientist
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