The Ministry of Rural Development and the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas have announced several initiatives to give relief to the beneficiaries under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan(PMGK) scheme.

More about the news:

  • The Ministry of Rural Development is releasing the lump sum amounts @ Rs. 500/- per woman to Pradhan Mantri Jan-Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) account holders for April 2020, under PMGK Package in the light of COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas has highlighted the various features of PMGK scheme for the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana(PMUY) beneficiaries such as 
    • Availability of up to 3 refills for 14.2 kg cylinders and 
    • Advance Retail Selling Price being transferred by OMCs to the PMUY customer’s bank account, which can be withdrawn to obtain the refill from the distributor.  

The PM Garib Kalyan package:

It includes a range of measures that the Government of India will take to alleviate the economic, health, and food-related distress of India’s poor in the wake of the national lockdown to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus.

There are five elements to the PMGK package.

  1. Medical insurance cover of Rs 50 lakh for all health workers (doctors, paramedics, Asha workers etc.) treating patients.
  2. Help for the poor and those engaged in the unorganised sector.
  3. Help for the poor engaged in the organised sector.
  4. Help for construction workers.
  5. Use the money already available in the “district(-level) mineral fund” to pay for medical testing and screening for the coronavirus.

Help provided to poor and those in the unorganised sector:

The help is in two ways - free food grains, and cash transfers.

  1. The central government, working with the state governments, will provide an additional quota of food grains free of cost to all 80 crore beneficiaries under the Public Distribution System. 
    1. PDS beneficiaries will get 5 kg of wheat (or rice) per month for the next three months. Additionally, each household (or family) will get 1 kg of pulses per month.
  2. The  government announced 6 types of additional cash transfers. These are:
    1. Farmers: Rs 2,000 per farmer to 9 crore farmers under the PM-KISAN scheme.
    2. Old age, widow or disable: An additional Rs 1,000 per month pension for the next 3 months for those receiving old age, widow or disability pensions. 
      1. This is a one-time payment, hence it does not mean their basic pensions have been raised. This is expected to help 3 crore beneficiaries.
    3. Women: Rs 500 per month will be transferred for the next 3 months to women holding a Jan Dhan bank account. This is expected to help 20 crore women.
    4. Over 8 crore women who are registered beneficiaries under Ujjwala Yojana will get one LPG cylinder per month for the next three months. While this is not exactly a cash transfer, these cylinders will be free of cost.
    5. Women Self Help Groups across the country: Roughly around 63 lakh of them can now take collateral-free loans up to Rs 20 lakh instead of the existing limit of Rs 10 lakh. This is not a cash transfer rather an enabling provision for receiving higher credit.
    6. Manual labour under MGNREGA: Wages paid for manual labour under MGNREGA have been increased from Rs 180 per day to Rs 202 per day. 
      1. According to the FM, this move will help 5 crore households (since only one person per household can avail of employment under MGNREGA) and enable them to earn Rs 2,000 as additional income. 
      2. However, the work needs to be done in a manner that ensures social distancing.

Help provided to the poor in the organised sector:

This help essentially relates to the Employees’ Provident Fund. There are two initiatives announced by the government 

  1. One in which the government actually pays on behalf of the poor.
    1. Under this, the GoI will pay the EPF contributions 12% of the basic salary - of both the employees and the employers for the next three months. 
    2. However, this move applies only to about 4 lakh firms where the total number of employees is less than 100, and where 90 per cent of the employees earn less than Rs 15,000 per month.
    3. The move is aimed at reducing the monetary strain on small firms in the organised sector that may feel compelled to fire employees given the mounting financial strain.
  2. The other enables the poor to withdraw their own money from their EPF accounts.
    1. The government has amended the Employees Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) regulations to enable workers to withdraw a non-refundable advance from their EPF accounts. 
    2. This amount is limited to 75 per cent of the total money in one’s EPF account, or one’s salary for three months, whichever is lower.
    3. So, if one earns Rs 20,000 per month, and has Rs 1 lakh in one’s EPF account, then one can only withdraw Rs 60,000 from it (not Rs 75,000). 
    4. This move is expected to help close to 4.8 crore workers registered with the EPFO.

For construction workers:

The construction sector traditionally employs a large number of people, especially those who leave villages and farming out of distress, and come to cities looking for work. 

  • The complete shutdown of economic activity as a result of the lockdown has essentially rendered all labourers jobless overnight.
  • To alleviate the economic distress of construction workers, the government has asked state governments to use the money (roughly Rs 31,000 crore) already available in a welfare fund for construction workers.

Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana(Ministry of Finance)

Aims and objectives: It envisages universal access to banking facilities with at least one basic banking account for every household, financial literacy, access to credit, insurance and pension.

About the scheme: 

  •  "Pradhan Mantri Jan-Dhan Yojana (PMJDY)" under the National Mission for Financial Inclusion was launched  on 28th August 2014.
  • PMJDY has provided a platform for the three social security schemes viz. Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana (PMJJBY), Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana (PMSBY), Atal Pension Yojana (APY) and Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana (PMMY).
  • Account can be opened in any bank branch or Business Correspondent (Bank Mitr) outlet. Accounts opened under PMJDY are being opened with Zero balance. However, if the account-holder wishes to get a cheque book, he/she will have to fulfill minimum balance criteria.
  • As informed by banks, out of 35.99 crore accounts opened under PMJDY as on 26.06.2019, 29.54 crore accounts are operative accounts.

Benefits under the scheme

  • Interest on deposit.
  • Accidental insurance cover of Rs. 2 lakhs
  • No minimum balance required.
  • The scheme provides life cover of Rs. 30,000/- payable on death of the beneficiary, subject to fulfillment of the eligibility condition.
  • Easy Transfer of money across India
  • Beneficiaries of Government Schemes will get Direct Benefit Transfer in these accounts.
  • After satisfactory operation of the account for 6 months, an overdraft facility will be permitted
  • Access to Pension, insurance products.
  • The Claim under Personal Accidental Insurance under PMJDY shall be payable if the Rupay Card holder has performed minimum one successful financial or non-financial customer induced transaction at any Bank Branch, Bank Mitra, ATM, POS, E-COM etc. 
  • Overdraft facility upto Rs. 10,000/- is available in only one account per household, preferably lady of the household.

Phase I - 15 August 2014 - 14 August 2015

  • Universal access to banking facilities for all households across the country through a bank branch or a fixed point Business Correspondent (BC) within a reasonable distance.
  • To cover all households with at least one basic banking account with RuPay Debit Card with inbuilt Rs 1 lakh accident insurance cover.
  • Financial literacy programme to be taken to the village level.
  • Expansion of Direct Benefit Transfer under various government schemes through bank accounts of the beneficiaries.
  • Issuance of Kisan Credit Card is also proposed

Phase II - 15 August 2015 - 14 August 2018

  • Providing microinsurance to the people.
  • Unorganised sector pension schemes like Swavalamban through the Business Correspondents.

Phase III - beyond 14 August 2018

  • The flagship financial inclusion program (PMJDY) will focus on opening accounts from "every household to every adult".
  • Existing Overdraft (OD) limit of Rs 5,000 to be raised to Rs 10,000.
  • There will not be any conditions attached for OD upto Rs 2,000.
  • Age limit for availing OD facility to be revised from 18-60 years to 18-65 years.

Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana 

It is a scheme of the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas for providing LPG connections to women from Below Poverty Line (BPL) households launched in 2016.

Target beneficiaries:

Under the scheme, an adult woman belonging to a poor family not having LPG connection in her household, is an eligible beneficiary under the expanded scheme. Release of LPG connection under this Scheme shall be in the name of the women belonging to the BPL family.

Initially, the Government covered the following categories under the Scheme :-

  1. Beneficiaries listed in the SECC 2011 list
  2. All SC/STs households beneficiaries of Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana(PMAY) (Gramin)
  3. Antyoday Anna Yojana (AAY)
  4. Forest dwellers
  5. Most Backward Classes (MBC)
  6. Tea & Ex-Tea Garden Tribes
  7. People residing in Islands
  8. People residing in river islands.

Benefits to the citizens

  • Under the scheme, five crore LPG connections are to be provided to BPL households. 
  • The Scheme provides a financial support of Rs 1600 for each LPG connection to the BPL households, interest free loan to purchase stove and refill by Oil Marketing Companies. 
  • The administrative cost of Rs. 1600 per connection, which includes a cylinder, pressure regulator, booklet, safety hose, etc. would be borne by the Government.