Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday announced Rs 1.70 lakh crore Pradhan Mantri Gareeb Kalyan Yojana to help all those needy people whose livelihood has been hit hard due to the coronavirus lockdown in the country, especially the poor people. As part of the relief package, Sitharaman announced that 20 crore women of Jan Dhan Account holders will get Rs 500 per month for next three months to help them run their households. The finance minister made a number of announcements including free food for those who depend on daily earnings including labourers, construction workers, others.
Among other announcements, the government will provide relief to farmers affected due to the lockdown. The Centre on Thursday said it will transfer in the first week of April the first installment of Rs 2,000 to each of 8.69 crore beneficiaries under the PM-KISAN scheme. Announcing the relief measures within 36 hours of nationwide lockdown, Finance Minister Nirmala Sithraman said, "Farmers receive Rs 6,000 annual from PM-KISAN. We will now be giving the first installment of that as a front-loaded matter, so that at the beginning of the year they will get Rs 2,000". This will benefit immediately 8.69 crore farmers who feed 1.3 billion population, she added.
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Under the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) scheme, the Centre transfers an amount of Rs 6,000 per year, in three equal instalments, directly into the bank accounts of the farmers, subject to certain exclusion criteria relating to higher income status.