Free food grains, affordable rental housing complexes to Kisan Credit Card Scheme; FM Nirmala Sitharaman announces 9 steps to help poor

The Credit Linked Subsidy Scheme for Middle Income Group (annual Income between Rs 6 and 18 lakhs) will be extended up to March 2021. This will benefit 2.5 lakhs middle income families during 2020-21.

Free food grains, affordable rental housing complexes to Kisan Credit Card Scheme; FM Nirmala Sitharaman announces 9 steps to help poor
Image courtesy: IANS

New Delhi: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday (May 14) announced the 2nd tranche of measures to ameliorate the hardships faced by migrant labours, street vendors, migrant urban poor, small traders self-employed people, small farmers and housing. 

In her press conference, the Finance Minister elaborated the short term and long-term measures for supporting the poor, including migrants, farmers, tiny businesses and street vendors.

FM Sitharaman said, "Farmers and workers are the backbones of this nation. They serve all of us with their sweat and toil. Migrant workers need affordable and convenient rental housing in urban areas in addition to social security. There is also a need to create employment opportunities for the poor, including migrant and unorganised workers. Farmers need timely and adequate credit support."

The government, she said, is attentive to the needs to all the segments of economy and society, while adding that small business setups, especially those run by street vendors, support dignified livelihoods through Shishu MUDRA loans. 

"They also need our patronage by way of business as well as caring attention in the form of social security and enhanced credit," FM Sitharaman added.

The short term and long-term measures announced by the Finance Minister to support the poor are: 

1. Free food grains supply to migrants for 2 months

For migrant labour, additional food grain to all the states/UTs at the rate of 5 kg per migrant labourer and 1 kg Chana per family per month for two months i.e. May and June 2020 free of cost shall be allocated. Migrant labourers not covered under National Food Security Act or without a ration card in the state/UT in which they are stranded at present will be eligible. 

States/UTs shall be advised to put a mechanism for targeted distribution as envisaged in the scheme. 8 Lakh MT of food-grain and 50,000 MT of Chana shall be allocated. The entire outlay of Rs. 3500 crore will be borne by Government of India.

2. One Nation one Ration Card: Technology system to enable migrants access PDS ration in India by March 2021
Pilot scheme for portability of ration cards will be extended to 23 states. By that, 67 crore beneficiaries covering 83% of the PDS population will be covered by national portability of ration cards by August 2020. 100% National portability will be achieved by March 2021. 

This is part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s technology-driven system reforms. This scheme will enable a migrant worker and their family members to access PDS benefits from any Fair Price Shop in the country. This will ensure that the people in transit, especially migrant workers can also get the benefit of PDS benefit across the country.

3. Scheme for Affordable Rental Housing Complexes for Migrant Workers and Urban Poor 
The central government will launch a scheme for migrant workers and urban poor to provide ease of living at an affordable rent. Affordable Rental Housing Complexes will provide social security and quality life to migrant labour, urban poor, and students etc.

This will be done through converting government-funded houses in the cities into Affordable Rental Housing Complexes (ARHC) under PPP mode through concessionaire; manufacturing units, industries, institutions, associations to develop Affordable Rental Housing Complexes (ARHC) on their private land and operate; and Incentivizing state government agencies/Central Government Organizations on similar lines to develop Affordable Rental Housing Complexes (ARHC) and operate. 

The exact details of the scheme will be released by the Ministry/Department.

4. Two per cent Interest Subvention for 12 months for Shishu MUDRA loanees
The government will provide interest subvention of 2% for prompt payees for a period of 12 months to MUDRA Shishu loanees, who have loans below Rs 50,000. The current portfolio of MUDRA Shishu loans is around Rs 1.62 Lakh crore. This will provide relief of about Rs 1,500 crore to Shishu MUDRA loanee.

5. Rs 5,000 crore Credit facility for Street Vendors

A special scheme will be launched within a month to facilitate easy access to credit to Street vendors, who are amongst the most adversely impacted by the present situation for enabling them to restart their businesses. Under this scheme, a bank credit facility for initial working capital up to Rs. 10,000 for each enterprise will be extended. 

This scheme will cover urban as well as rural vendors doing business in the adjoining urban areas. Use of digital payments and timely repayments will be incentivized through monetary rewards. It is expected that 50 lakh street vendors will be benefitted under this scheme and credit of Rs 5,000 crore would flow to them. 

6. Rs 70,000 crore boost to the housing sector, middle-income group through Credit Linked Subsidy Scheme under PMAY (Urban)
The Credit Linked Subsidy Scheme for Middle Income Group (annual Income between Rs 6 and 18 lakhs) will be extended up to March 2021. This will benefit 2.5 lakhs middle income families during 2020-21 and will lead to an investment of over Rs 70,000 crore in the housing sector. 

This will create a significant number of jobs by giving a boost to the housing sector and will stimulate demand for steel, cement, transport and other construction materials.

7. Rs 6,000 crore for creating employment using CAMPA funds

Approximately Rs 6,000 crore of funds under Compensatory Afforestation Management & Planning Authority (CAMPA) will be used for Afforestation and Plantation works, including in urban areas, Artificial regeneration, assisted natural regeneration, forest management, soil and moisture conservation works, Forest protection, forest and wildlife-related infrastructure development, wildlife protection and management etc. 

The government will grant immediate approval to these plans amounting to Rs 6000 crore. This will create job opportunities in urban, semi-urban and rural areas and also for Tribals (Adivashis).

8. Rs 30,000 crore additional emergency working capital for farmers through NABARD

National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) will extend additional re-finance support of Rs 30,000 crore for meeting crop loan requirement of Rural Cooperative Banks and RRBs. This refinance will be front-loaded and available on tap. 

This is over and above Rs 90,000 crore that will be provided by NABARD to this sector in the normal course. This will benefit around 3 crore farmers, mostly small and marginal and it will meet their post-harvest Rabi and current Kharif requirements.

9. Rs 2 lakh crore credit boost to 2.5 crore farmers under Kisan Credit Card Scheme
A special drive to provide concessional credit to PM-KISAN beneficiaries through Kisan Credit Cards. Fisherman and Animal Husbandry Farmers will also be included in this drive. This will inject additional liquidity of  Rs 2 lakh crore in the farm sector. 2.5 crore farmers will be covered.

Click here for PPT details of Tranche 2 by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi lauded the announcements made by the Finance Minister saying that the announcements will benefit farmers and migrant workers, adding that the progressive measures will boost food security, credit to farmers as well as street vendors. 

Taking to micro-blogging site Twitter, PM Modi said, "Today’s announcements by FM Nirmala Sitharaman will especially benefit our farmers and migrant workers. The announcements include a series of progressive measures and will boost food security, credit to farmers as well as street vendors."

Key highlights of the first tranche announced by FM Sitharaman on May 13:

-Rs 3 lakh crore Emergency Working Capital Facility for Businesses, including MSMEs
-Rs 20,000 crore Subordinate Debt for Stressed MSMEs
-Rs 50,000 crore equity infusion through MSME Fund of Funds
-New Definition of MSME and other Measures for MSME
-No Global tenders for Government tenders of uptoRs 200 crore
-Extending the Employees Provident Fund Support for business and organised workers for another 3 months for salary months of June, July and August 2020
-EPF Contribution to be reduced for Employers and Employees for 3 months to 10% from 12% for all establishments covered by EPFO for next 3 months
-Rs 30,000 crore Special Liquidity Scheme for NBFC/HFC/MFIs
-Rs 45,000 crore Partial credit guarantee Scheme 2.0 for Liabilities of NBFCs/MFIs
-Rs 90,000 crore Liquidity Injection for DISCOMs
-Relief to contractors given by extension of up to six months for completion of contractual obligations, including in respect of EPC and concession agreements
-Relief to Real Estate Projects the registration and completion date for all registered projects will be extended up to six months. 
-Tax relief to business as pending income tax refunds to charitable trusts and non-corporate businesses and professions to be issued immediately
-Reduction in Rates of ‘Tax Deduction at Source’ and ‘Tax Collected at Source” by 25% for the remaining period of FY 20-21
Due Dates for various tax relatedcompliances extended