The announcement of Rs 1.7 lakh crore worth massive relief package by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has been welcomed by all political parties as a timely step to provide relief to poor women, farmers, workers, senior citizens, physically challenged and other sections of society. The aim is to shield the poor during the lockdown period.
Eighty crore poor people will be given an additional 5 kg wheat or rice and one kg pulses for the next three months under Pradhan Mantri Gareeb Kalyan Ann Yojana. Rs 50 lakh insurance cover will be given to every healthcare worker for the next three months. They include doctors, nurses, paramedics, ward boys and safai karmacharis working in hospitals.
Rs 2,000 will be transferred to the accounts of 8.69 crore farmers under Kisan Samman Nidhi in the first week of April. Wages under MGNREGA have been raised for the next three months. Nearly three crore senior citizens, widows and divyangs (disabled) will get Rs 1000 in two instalments over the next three months. 20 crore women having Jan Dhan bank accounts will get Rs 500 each per month for the next three months.
Below Poverty Level families will get free LPG cylinders under Ujjwala scheme for three months. Centre will contribute both employers' and employees contribution in Employees Provident Fund for the next three months.
People who are well aware of the working style of our Prime Minister Narendra Modi know that the relief package was not prepared in a hurry. It will not be correct to say that the lockdown was enforced in a hurry and our PM decided on relief measures to help the poor affected by the lockdown.
The relief package was planned meticulously taking inputs from various ministries and with full preparations. In reality, Modi analyzed the relief steps taken by other big countries, spoke to chief ministers, calculated the food stocks position, decided to go in for 21-day lockdown and followed it up with the announcement of this relief package.
There is no way out for India from this pandemic without enforcing a nationwide lockdown. If we have to save ourselves and our children, lockdown is a must. The Centre, state government and different agencies are doing their jobs, people by and large are staying in homes during lockdown but there are people who are deliberately defying lockdown and putting themselves and the community at risk.
Those violating the lockdown need to be handled with a stern hand. Some people have made it a rule that they won’t follow any rule. We can’t afford this in this hour of crisis. It’s an emergency not only for us but for the whole world. Those who refuse to see the danger, are putting millions of people at risk. They must be made to stay at home. We don’t have another option.
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