Context: Union Finance Ministry announced the 2nd Tranche of measures to ameliorate the hardships faced specifically by migrant labourers, street vendors, migrant urban poor, small traders self-employed people, small farmers and housing, amid COVID-19.
- Recently, the Hon'ble Prime Minister announced a Special economic and comprehensive package of Rs 20 lakh Crore - equivalent to 10% of India’s GDP on 12th May 2020.
- The package known as Self-Reliant India Movement or Aatmanirbhar Bharat outlined five pillars - Economy, Infrastructure, System, Vibrant Demography and Demand.
Measures: Following short term and long-term measures -
- Free food grains supply to migrants for 2 months
- For the 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 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.
The entire outlay of Rs. 3500 crore will be borne by the Government of India.
- One Nation one Ration Card: Technology system to be used enabling Migrants to access PDS (Ration) from any Fair Price Shops in India.
- Pilot scheme for portability of ration cards will be extended to 23 states.
- By this, 83% of the PDS population will be covered by National portability of Ration cards.
- 100% National portability will be achieved by March next year.
- 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 PDS benefit across the country.
- Scheme for Affordable Rental Housing Complexes: For Migrant Workers and Urban Poor to be launched.
- This will be done through converting government funded houses in the cities into Affordable Rental Housing Complexes (ARHC) under PPP mode through concessionaires.
- Impact: Will provide
- ease of living at affordable rent.
- social security and quality life to migrant labour, urban poor, and students etc.
- 2% Interest Subvention for Shishu MUDRA loanees:
- Government of India 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.
- This will provide relief of about Rs 1,500 crore to Shishu MUDRA loanee.
- Credit facility for Street Vendors:
- Under this scheme, bank credit facilities 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.
- Impact: It is expected that 50 lakh street vendors will be benefited under this scheme and credit of Rs. 5,000 crore would flow to them.
- Extension of Credit Linked Subsidy Scheme for MIG 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 next year.
- This will benefit 2.5 lakhs middle income families during 2020-21 and will lead to investment of over Rs 70,000 crore in 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.
- 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.
- Impact: This will create job opportunities in urban, semi-urban and rural areas and also for Tribals (Adivashis).
- Additional Emergency Working Capital for farmers through National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD):
- NABARD will extend additional re-finance support of Rs 30,000 crore for meeting crop loan requirements of Rural Cooperative Banks and RRBs.
- This is over and above Rs 90,000 crore that will be provided by NABARD to this sector in the normal course.
- Impact: This will benefit around 3 crore farmers, mostly small and marginal and it will meet their post-harvest Rabi and current Kharif requirements.
- Credit boost to farmers under Kisan Credit Card Scheme:
- A special drive to provide concessional credit to PM-KISAN beneficiaries through Kisan Credit Cards. Fisherman and Animal Husbandy Farmers will also be included in this drive.
- Impact: This will inject additional liquidity of Rs 2 lakh crore in the farm sector. 2.5 crore farmers will be covered.
- While the first set of measures was geared towards ensuring liquidity flow to various parts of the economy, the second aims to ensure food security for migrant workers.
- The measures will ease credit flows to the more vulnerable sections of society - street vendors and small farmers, among others.
- MGNREGA: As in the past, this remains a lifesaver for people dependent on fragile livelihoods, and the decision to extend it to the monsoon season is welcome.
- The government should also ensure that wages are paid without delays, a major problem with the scheme’s implementation lately.
- It is now up to the States to ensure the scheme is implemented properly.
- NFSA: The government could have extended the Public Distribution System coverage to include more people who are suffering from loss of jobs and livelihoods, besides migrant workers.
- One nation, one ration card scheme: The scheme, as implemented now, has been utilised only sparingly by migrants, and concerns from States like Tamil Nadu where PDS is near-universal are yet to be addressed.
- Farmers: Many of the announcements, including one for small farmers, are a combination of liquidity and credit-easing measures or the extension of existing schemes. As things stand, they fall short of the substantive fiscal measures that could stimulate demand in the economy.
- The credit linked subsidy scheme for affordable housing has been extended by another year - but with questions over job/income security, its ability to spur demand for affordable housing is questionable.
- Problems of identification of beneficiaries: India is also well-known for the problems of identification of beneficiaries for government schemes.
- Foodgrains will offer immediate relief, but workers need more substantive support.
- A waiver or at least an extension of the 100-day limit per household for MGNREGA too would have helped.
- Distress of poor migrants is greater than relief announced by the government. Hence, more needs to be done.