Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday announced that the government will pay the Employees' Provident Fund (EPF) contribution, both of employer and employee every month for the next three months, as part of COVID-19 relief package. Put together (EPF of employee and employer), it will be 24 per cent. This relief can be availed by those establishments which have up to 100 employees and 90 per cent of them earn less than Rs 15,000 per month, Sitharaman said.
Meanwhile, the EPF scheme regulation will be amended to allow non-refundable advance to 75 percent of the amount standing to the credit or 3 months wages whichever is lower. This will benefit over 4.8 crore workers. All this will be part of the government's relief package of Rs 1.70 lakh crore, with focus on marginalised section, amid the coronavirus lockdown. Announcing the package, Sitharaman said that people below the povery line will get an additional 5 kg foodgrain (rice or wheat) in addition to the existing 5 kg quota for the next three months under the Pradhan Mantri Gareeb Kalyan Yojana.
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"Each poor will get 5 kg grains per person per month for the next three months for free, one kg of pulses for each household for free. This will be over and above the current 5 kg they get under NFSA," Sitharaman announced while addressing the media on Thursday. The finance minister also said that 1 kg of preferred pulses will be given to the people for free every month for the next three months.