The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved the extension of some of the measures taken by the government to help people tide over the severe impact of the nationwide lockdown imposed on March 25.
Among the key measures, the Cabinet gave its nod to extend the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana, which provides for allocation of foodgrain from the Central pool, until November with an additional estimated expenditure of Rs 76,062 crore.
It also extended the time limit to avail three free LPG cylinders under the Ujjwala scheme. Starting April 1, beneficiaries of Ujjwala were allowed three free cylinders, which, if not claimed, can now be taken by September-end.
In a national address on June 30, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced extension of the Anna Yojana by five months. Under the scheme, the government is providing additional 5 kg rice or wheat and 1 kg whole chana per person per month — distributed free, both are over and above the monthly entitlement of beneficiaries.
While the scheme intends to cover 81 crore beneficiaries under the National Food Security Act, 2013, the government said that 74.3 crore beneficiaries were covered in April, 74.75 crore in May, and 64.72 crore beneficiaries got the additional foodgrain in June.
The Cabinet also approved a new nationwide Central sector scheme — the Agriculture Infrastructure Fund. Under this, banks and financial institutions will provide Rs 1 lakh crore medium to long-term debt financing facility for investment in projects for post-harvest management infrastructure and community farming assets over the next four years. The loans will be given to agencies such as Primary Agricultural Credit Societies, Marketing Cooperative Societies, Farmer Producers’ Organisations, Self-Help Group (and farmers, among others.
The scheme will start with sanction of Rs 10,000 crore in the current fiscal and Rs 30,000 per annum in the next three financial years.
The government said that “all loans under this financing facility will have interest subvention of 3 per cent per annum up to a limit of Rs 2 crore”. The total outflow as budgetary support for the scheme will be Rs 10,736 crore.
The Cabinet gave the government a go-ahead for development of Affordable Rental Housing Complexes (AHRCs) for urban migrant workers and the poor. Announced by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on May 14 as part of the government’s relief measures, this will come under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana.
Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar on Wednesday said there are 1.08 lakh single-bedroom apartments in government-funded housing complexes across seven cities that are ready and vacant at the moment. “These will be given to migrant workers on rent,” he said.
The apartments will be rented out by the respective city municipal bodies through concession agreements for 25 years. The “concessionaire” will be selected by state governments through transparent bidding, the government announced.
Additionally, special incentives such as use permission, 50 per cent more FAR/FSI, and concessional loan at priority sector lending rate will be offered to public and private entities who develop such ARHCs.