Unveiling the second tranche of the economic stimulus package as part of ‘Self-reliant India Mission’ to cushion the impact of Covid-19, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman Thursday announced three measures for the distressed migrant workers.
Firstly, migrant workers, who are neither National Food Security Act (NFSA) or State Card beneficiaries in the state they are stationed, will be provided 5 kg of grains per person and 1 kg Chana per family per month free for two months, the Finance Minister said.
An estimated Rs 3500 crore will be earmarked on this intervention for two months, which is expected to benefit about 8 crores migrant workers. The Finance Minister, who was flanked by her deputy MoS Finance Anurag Thakur, said while the cost will be fully borne by the central government, the state governments are responsible for implementation, identification of migrants and full distribution and providing detailed guidelines.
Sitharaman also announced the ‘One Nation One Ration card’ scheme under which migrants will be enabled to access Public Distribution System from any Fair Price Shop in the country by March 2021. This is part of the PM’s Technology-Driven System Reforms.
An estimated 67 crore beneficiaries in 23 states covering 83 per cent of PDS population will be covered by the national portability by August 2020. 100 per cent national portability will be achieved by March 2021. All States/UTs will complete full FPS automation by March 2021.
Keeping in mind the challenges that migrant workers face in getting houses at an affordable rent, Sitharaman also said the government will launch a scheme under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) for migrant labourers/urban poor to provide ease of living at affordable rent by 1) converting the government-funded housing in the cities into affordable rental housing complexes under PPP mode through the concessionaire. 2) incentivising manufacturing units, industries, institutions, associations to develop Affordable Rental Housing Complexes (ARHC) on their private land and operate. 3) Incentivising state government agencies/central government organisations on the similar lines to develop ARHC and operate.
The ministry will issue detailed guidelines in this regard.