Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced the second tranche of relief measures under the Atma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan. The second tranche focused on farmers, migrant workers, small traders and others. The first tranche of announcements on Wednesday had focused on providing relief to MSMEs, NBFCs, MFIs and HFCs, electric distribution companies and others.
Nirmala Sitharaman announced that a scheme will be launched by the Government under PMAY to provide affordable rent to migrant labour and urban poor. Government funded housing in the cities will be converted into Affordable Rental Housing Complexes (ARHC) under PPP mode through concessionaire. Manufacturing units, industries, institutions and central and state government organisations will be incentivised to develop ARHC on their own land and operate.
In addition to that, migrants will be enabled to avail the Public Distribution System from any Fair Price Shop in India by March 2021. Currently, 20 states have been integrated into the intra-state portability system. By August 2020, 67 crore beneficiaries in 23 states covering 83% of the PDS population will have been covered. The biggest announcement, perhaps, was that migrants who are neither NSFA or State Card beneficiaries in the state they are stationed at will be provided 5 kg of grains per person and 1 kg of Chana per family per month for two months. An estimated 8 crore migrants are expected to benefit. Rs. 3500 crores will be spent on this and the costs will be incurred fully by the Government of India. However, state governments are expected to implement the same.
The Finance Minister also announced that MNREGA will support returning migrants. 14.62 crore person-days of work have been generated till the 13th of May 2020. The actual expenditure till date is estimated to be around Rs. 10,000 crores. Earlier, the Government had permitted state governments to utilise State Disaster Response Fund (SRDF) for setting up shelter for migrants and provide them food and water.