43 Key Highlights of Finance Minister Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman press conference dated 26.03.2020

1. Government to contribute 12% from the employee and employer side to the PF, for firms having less than 100 employees.

Government will contribute 12% from the employer side and 12% from the employee side to PF accounts. This for those firms where there are less than 100 employees, 90% of who draw less than 15,000 per month in wages.

2. EPFO schemes regulation will be amended to allow the non-refundable advance of 75% of the standing amount

Due to Covid-19 pandemic, EPFO schemes regulation will be amended to allow the non-refundable advance of 75% of the standing  amount or three month wages, whicever is lower. This will benefit 4.8 crore workers.

3. Government will pay the EPF contribution

The government will pay the EPF contribution, both of the employer and employee, ie. 24% for the next three months. This is for all those establishments which have upto 100 employees, out of which 90% employees draw less than Rs 15,000 per month

4. Ujjwala Yojna beneficiaries to get gas cylinders free for next three months

In the PM Garib Kalyan Yojna the Finance Minister announced that Ujjwala beneficiaries will get fre gas cylinders for thee months.

5. FM doubles collateral-free loans to Rs 20 lakh for Self Help Group women

Collateral free loans doubled to Rs 20 lakhs for Self Help Group women, to help 7 crore women.

6. ‘No one will remain hungry’; government brings in food, cash relief amid coronavirus

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has come up with a Rs 1,70,000 crore relief package for the daily wage earners, women workers and migrant workers as the country remains in a 21-day lockdown period due to coronavirus outbreak.

7. 3 crore BPL family will get free LPG cylinders

To provide an adequate supply of cooking gas, for the next three months 8.3 crore BPL family will get free cylinders.

8. Woman Jan Dhan account holders will get an ex-gratia amount of Rs 500 per month

20 crore woman Jan Dhan account holders will get an ex-gratia amount of Rs 500 per month for the next three months, to fight coronavirus.

9. Senior citizens, widows, and Divyangs to get one-time additional payment of Rs 1000

Senior citizens, widows, and Divyangs to get one-time additional payment of Rs 1000 in two installments for the next three months. This is expected to benefit 3 crore such people under Direct Benefit Transfer.

10. FM Sitharaman’s package to help directly affected, migrants workers, urban and rural poor.

“We have come with a package that will immediately help those affected directly, those migrants workers, urban and rural poor. We are looking both at cash transfers as well as food security measures,” Sitharaman said.

11. FM announces immediate transfer of Rs 2000 to farmers

FM announces immediate release of Rs 2000 to directly benefit 8.69 crore farmers.

12. 5 kg rice, wheat free for 80 crore people for three months

Under Pradhanmantri Garib Kalyan Yojana, 5 kg rice or wheat will be given for free for the next three months. Besides, 1 kg pulse available regionally will also be given for free to 80 crore people.

13. 5 KG additional rice or wheat per household to be given by the Government

For the next three months an addition 5KG of rice or wheat will be given free by the government ot the poor.

14. Rs 50 lakh per person insurance for medical workers

We are fighting this emergecy on a war footing, said MoS Finance, Anurag Thakur while he uinveiled a Rs 50 lakh per person insurance for medical personnel.

15. Govt announces medical insurance cover of Rs 50 lakh

FM Sitharaman has announced Rs 50 lakh medical cover per person for the government’s sanitation workers, ASHA workers, doctors, paramedics, others, if they need it. The scheme is to benefit 20 lakh such workers.

16. Govt’s economic package includes relief for daily wage workers

We do not want people to stay hungry or without money in their hand, said FM Sitharaman

17. FM press conference starts

FM Sitharaman starts press conference

18. Centre can issue advisories to states to disburse funds from their respective labour welfare boards

In the case of construction workers, the centre can issue advisories to states to disburse funds from their respective labour welfare boards for those in the unorganised sector, like beedi, mine, cine workers.

19. Cash transfers through direct benefit transfer are being considered

Cash transfers through direct benefit transfer are being considered for registered unorganised workers and a minimum sustenance level transfer to those who are out of the social security net.

20. Centre may borrow more to fund the relief package

While the government may use money available with certain labour welfare funds, a limited fiscal space would be its biggest constraint. The Centre may borrow more to fund the relief package, which is expected to be announced, said senior officials.

21. Stimulus plan could be as large as 2.3 trillion rupees

One of the sources, a senior government official, said the stimulus plan could be as large as 2.3 trillion rupees, but final numbers were still in discussion, Reuters reported.

22. Cash transfers for unorganised workers, 7 kg subsidised grain per person

The Government is finalising an economic package, the broad contours of which are likely to include targeted monetary transfers to unorganised sector workers, especially daily wage workers, sops for small and medium enterprises and relaxations in banking sector prudential norms to help companies tide over the countrywide lockdown that is causing significant disruption across the economy.

23. Why is corona package taking so long to clear?

There are, as experts have pointed out, real dangers with opening the spigots too much since, with very high levels of the real fiscal deficit, this will lead to a rise in bond yields which will defeat the purpose of the exercise. At the same time, there is little doubt millions of poor and lower middle-class people desperately need money to compensate for job losses; a direct cash transfer, possibly on a weekly basis, to them immediately is called for and it helps that thanks to the ration-shop DBT and the JanDhan accounts, the government already has their details and can transfer money quite quickly.

24. Modi govt’s Rs 1.5 lakh crore warchest to defeat coronavirus economic slowdown

India is likely to agree an economic stimulus package of more than 1.5 trillion rupees ($19.6 billion) to fight a downturn in the country that is currently locked down to stem the spread of coronavirus, two sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

25. Extension in timeline for reference under IBC should have been announced without waiting further

“Extension in the timeline for reference under IBC could also have been announced without waiting till 30th April. Now everybody is looking for the Economic Task Force to complete its exercise and announcement of the economic package,” Hari Hara Mishra, Director, UV ARC, told Financial Express Online.

26. No shortage of food products, essential goods

The government assured that there will be no shortage of food products and essential goods during the lockdown. Immediately after the announcement of 21 days lockdown, grocery stores in the country saw a burst of buyers rushing to gather enough grocery items to keep their household running in the lockdown. On delivery businesses, the cabinet minister has said that it is unfortunate that delivery agents are harassed at some places, but such cases are very few in number.

27. Modi govt announces largest ration subsidy scheme for 80 Cr Indians

The government has approved the world’s largest food security scheme to benefit 80 crore people across the country. Out of them, every person will get 7 kg ration per month for the next three months, including wheat at a cost of Rs 2 per kg, instead of Rs 27 per kg; and rice at cost of Rs 3 per kg, instead of Rs 37 per kg, Cabinet Minister Prakash Javadekar said in a press conference yesterday.

28. PFC extends support to fight COVID-19 in Rajasthan

Power Finance Corporation Ltd (PFC), a leading NBFC in the power sector has agreed to provide a financial assistance of Rs Fifty lakh to the Indian Red Cross Society, to fight coronavirus in Rajasthan.

29. Census 2021, NPR postponed till further notice

Keeping in view the impact of coronavirus, the first phase of Census 2021 and the updation of NPR, which was to begin on various dates decided by the State/UT governments beginning 1st April 2020 and various related field activities, are postponed until further orders

30. Don’t worry about deficit now, time for govt to spend to combat the virus, says C Rangarajan, former governor, RBI

With Covid-19 disrupting economic activities and people being confined to homes, the Centre and the Reserve Bank of India must come out with fiscal and regulatory measures to deal with the extraordinary situation without bothering too much about the fiscal deficit, former Reserve Bank of India governor C Rangarajan said.

31. Govt classifies media as essential service; urges to work even harder

Stressing that media and communication is an essential service in this time of crisis due to coronavirus, the government has advised officers of I&B Ministry to be available around the clock & work even harder than usual to bring correct and authentic information to the masses.

32. Cabinet has approved the continuation of Rebate of State and Central Taxes and Levies on textiles

Cabinet has approved the continuation of Rebate of State and Central Taxes and Levies (RoSCTL) from 1 April 2020 onward until such time that the scheme is merged with Remission of Duties and Taxes on Exported Products (RoDTEP). RoSCTL scheme for apparel and made-ups will be continued with effect from 1 April 2020 without any change in scheme guidelines and rates as notified by the Ministry of Textiles till such time that the RoSCTL is merged with RoDTEP

33. Textiles Ministry sets up emergency control room to monitor production and supply of medical textiles

The Ministry of Textiles has set up an Emergency Control Room to monitor production and supply of medical textiles (N-95 mask, Body Coveralls and meltblown fabric) which are required in connection with Covid-19.

34. PM to participate in G20 virtual summit tomorrow

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will participate in the G20 virtual summit tomorrow to discuss on the issues related to Coronavirus. The G20 has an important global role to play in addressing the COVID 19 pandemic. I look forward to productive discussions tomorrow at the G20 virtual summit, being coordinated by the Saudi G20 Presidency, PM said in a tweet.

35. Renewable Energy projects under implementation will be given an extension of time

All Renewable Energy projects under implementation will be given an extension of time considering the period of lockdown and time required for remobilisation of workforce,  said a statement by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy.

36. Control room for real-time monitoring of the status of transportation and delivery of goods

Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, has set up a control room for real-time monitoring of the status of transportation and delivery of goods, manufacturing, delivery of essential commodities to the common man and the difficulties being faced by various stakeholders during the lockdown.

37. Approval for recapitalisation of Regional Rural Banks

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has given its approval for continuation of the process of recapitalisation of Regional Rural Banks (RRBs) by providing minimum regulatory capital to RRBs for another year beyond 2019-20, that is, up to 2020-21 for those RRBs which are unable to maintain minimum Capital to Risk-weighted Assets Ratio (CRAR) of 9%, as per the regulatory norms prescribed by the Reserve Bank of India.

38. Relief packages for MSMEs, daily wage workers on cards?

While the daily wage workers are left without jobs and stuck mid-way, FM Sitharaman may announce a relief package for the daily wage workers. Besides, announcements can also be regarding injecting liquidity in the market. The government has been in consultation with the Reserve bank of India, capital market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India.

39. Control room for real-time monitoring of the status of transportation and delivery of goods

Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, has set up a control room for real-time monitoring of the status of transportation and delivery of goods, manufacturing, delivery of essential commodities to the common man and the difficulties being faced by various stakeholders during the lockdown.

40. Approval for recapitalisation of Regional Rural Banks

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has given its approval for continuation of the process of recapitalisation of Regional Rural Banks (RRBs) by providing minimum regulatory capital to RRBs for another year beyond 2019-20, that is, up to 2020-21 for those RRBs which are unable to maintain minimum Capital to Risk-weighted Assets Ratio (CRAR) of 9%, as per the regulatory norms prescribed by the Reserve Bank of India.

41. Relief packages for MSMEs, daily wage workers on cards?

While the daily wage workers are left without jobs and stuck mid-way, FM Sitharaman may announce a relief package for the daily wage workers. Besides, announcements can also be regarding injecting liquidity in the market. The government has been in consultation with the Reserve bank of India, capital market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India.

42. Govt monitoring availability of essential commodities in market, says Ram Vilas Paswan

Union Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan on Wednesday said the government is monitoring the availability of essential commodities in the market amid nationwide lockdown for next 21 days to check the spread of coronavirus outbreak.

43. PSU banks come to rescue before govt’s economic package; SBI, Indian Bank, others offer quick credit

The businesses suffering from a slump in demand and zero footfall in the market can now look up to many PSU banks to get emergency credit to carry on their endeavors. State Bank of India, Indian Bank, Uco Bank, Bank of India (BOI), and Union Bank of India (UBI), have announced emergency credit lines for quick loans

Disclaimer: The Article Is Based On The Relevant Provisions And As Per The Information Existing At The Time Of The Preparation. In No Event I Shall Be Liable For Any Direct And Indirect Result From This Article. This Is Only A Knowledge Sharing Initiative.

The Author – CS Deepak Seth (Associate Partner Helpinghands Professionals LLP) And Can Be Reached At Contacthhpro@Gmail.Com Or 9910248911.

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One Comment

  1. srividya says:

    Regarding point no 1, about payment of employer’s and employees share of EPF for 3 months please give notification no.
    Salary of Rs 15000/- refers to Basic +DA or gross salary

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