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India is doing important work: WHO chief lauds Modi govt's USD24 billion COVID-19 package

India is doing important work: WHO chief lauds Modi govt's USD24 billion COVID-19 package

India Blooms News Service | @indiablooms | 02 Apr 2020, 03:05 pm

New York: World Health Organisation Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus recently appreciated Indian PM Narendra Modi's efforts to tackle COVID-19 outbreak in the country who has announced a financial package and other measures to aid the nation.

In his attempts to help the countrymen at a time when the country is passing through a crisis, Modi announced 24 billion dollars package, including free ration for the disadvantaged, cash transfers to poor women and free cooking gas for the next three months. 

Tedros said: "What India is doing is very important."

"During shutdown there will be economic consequences on the country at large and that why India announced a $24 billion package, incl free food rations for 800 million disadvantaged people, cash transfers to 204 million poor women & free cooking gas for 80 million households for the next 3 months."

"That's the kind of support we think should be given," he said.

Calling for a need for debt relief for developing countries, Tedros said: "Many developing countries will struggle to implement social welfare programs of this nature. For those countries, debt relief is essential to enable them to take care of their people and avoid economic collapse."

Indian Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Mar 26 came out with a mega package of Rs. 1,70,000 crore under "Pradhan Mantri Gareeb Kalyan Scheme" to support health workers, poor people, farmers, women and other marginalised sectors as the country is in lockdown mode to combat COVID-19. 

Each health worker will get an insurance of Rs. 50 lakh for the next three months.

Announcing that all poor people will get five kg of wheat or rice and one kg of dal for free for the next three months, Sitharaman said, "We have taken the steps so that no one remains hungry."

Sitharaman said eight lakh farmers will get Rs. 2,000 to their bank accounts.

She has also announced a wage increase from Rs. 182 to Rs. 202 for all MNREGA workers.

One-time ex-gratia of additional Rs. 1000 will be given to poor senior citizens who are widowed and disabled.

Nearly eight crore BPL families who avail Ujjwala scheme will get free gas cylinders for the next three months. 

Sitharaman said, "Govt of India will pay the EPF contribution of both of the employer and employee (24 per cent together) for the next three months so that nobody suffers. This is for all companies which have up to 100 employees with 90 per cent of them drawing less than Rs. 15,000 as salaries each."

"The EPF scheme regulations will be amended to allow workers to draw non-refundable advance of 75% from credit in PF a/c or three months' salary, whichever is lower. This will benefit 4.8 crore who are registered with the EPF," she said.

Announcement for construction workers

For construction workers, Sitharaman wanted the state government to utilise the welfare fund of Rs. 31,000 for building and construction workers.

India is doing important work: WHO chief lauds Modi govt's USD24 billion COVID-19 package

India Blooms News Service
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