1.PM Garib Kalyan Package: Govt says Rs 34,800 cr financial help given to 39 cr beneficiaries

  • What is Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package?

  • What are the key components of the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package?

  • Why these measures were necessary?

  • What are the challenges ahead?

UPSC Can list these Questions under

GS paper 2 (Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States)

What is the context about?

  • The government has provided Rs 34,800 crore financial assistance using digital payment infrastructure to about 39 crore beneficiaries under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package (PMGKP) to protect them from the impact of COVID-19 lockdown.
  •  The nationwide lockdown, imposed to stop the novel coronovirus in its tracks, has led to scores of daily wage workers and informal sector entrepreneurs losing earning opportunities from their existing activities.

What is Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package?

  • The Union Finance & Corporate Affairs Minister Smt. Niramla Sitharaman has announced Rs 1.70 Lakh Crore relief package under Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana for the poor to help them fight the battle against Corona Virus.
  • These measures are intended at reaching out to the poorest of the poor, with food and money in hands, so that they do not face difficulties in buying essential supplies and meeting essential needs.
  • The package 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.

What are the key components of the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package?

  • Insurance scheme for health workers fighting COVID-19 in Government Hospitals and Health Care Centres: Any health professional, who while treating Covid-19 patients, meet with some accident, then he/she would be compensated with an amount of Rs 50 lakh under the scheme.
  • All government health centres, wellness centres and hospitals of Centre as well as States would be covered under this scheme.
  • Approximately 22 lakh health workers would be provided insurance cover to fight this pandemic.
  • Safai karamcharis, ward-boys, nurses, ASHA workers, paramedics, technicians, doctors and specialists and other health workers would be covered.
  • PM Garib Kalyan Ann Yojana: Under this scheme, 80 crore poor people, covering about two-thirds of the country’s population, will get 5 kg rice or wheat each month for the next three months free of charge, in addition to the 5 kg they already get. Each household will get 1 kg of dal of their choice, for next three months, also free of charge.

Why these measures were necessary?

  • For economic agents – particularly poor households and small businesses – the crisis today is a crisis of liquidity.
  • The nationwide lockdown, imposed to stop the novel coronovirus in its tracks, has led to scores of daily wage workers and informal sector entrepreneurs losing earning opportunities from their existing activities.

What are the challenges ahead?

  • Essentially, this package seems to reach those who are connected to bank accounts and formal payment systems. But certain groups of daily wagers and informal workers may be left out.
  • And the real challenge would come in implementing these measures. For example, while there was sufficient surplus foodgrains available in government warehouses and an existing system for further procurement, the system for procurement of pulses needed to be created in most states.