Schemes for poor, middle class get cabinet approval

The Narendra Modi government had announced these welfare schemes in May when the union cabinet could not meet for their mandatory approvals

The union cabinet and CCEA meetings held today under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Narendra Modi ended with approvals to welfare schemes he and Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had announced in May.

The cabinet approved agricultural infrastructure development projects worth Rs 1 lakh crore. The PM Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana has been extended till November. For the benefit of businessmen and employees, the cabinet approved 24% assistance in the Employees Provident Fund (EPF).

Schemes for the poor

The cabinet approved also an extension of free LPG cylinder facility under the Ujjwala scheme.

Under the fourth welfare measure, the union cabinet approved the affordable rental housing scheme to cater to the urban poor and migrant labourers. This stratum of the economy will get houses at cheap rates in cities at a cost of Rs 600 crore to the exchequer.

This scheme is part of the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana — City. The finance minister had announced it in May. Existing housing complexes made up of vacant and government funds will be converted into affordable rental housing complexes under the scheme.

With the PM Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana extended till November, the cabinet agreed that the scheme should aid the Modi government in distributing ration to 80 crore poor people for free. The government had announced this welfare scheme for the period March-June. Now it will hold good till November.

The cabinet approved an expenditure of Rs 1 lakh crore for the fund for the development of agricultural infrastructure to boost the only form of industry that stayed more or less unaffected by the lockdown imposed to check the spread of coronavirus infections.

The government will invest Rs 12,450 crore in three insurance companies that have to raise this amount. United Insurance Company, National Insurance and All India Insurance Company have been picked for the purpose.

Among the other schemes, the government is providing free cylinders under Ujjwala, continuing another flagship welfare programme of Prime Minister Modi. Oil companies can extend the tenure of the EMI reference for the next one year, which ends in July 2020 this year.

This implies that customers of Ujjwala scheme who buy LPG cylinders will not need to give any EMI amount to the oil companies — for the next year.

Scheme for the better off

The Modi government did not ignore the middle class and well-off sections either. The cabinet approved a 24% EPF support.

Companies where there are up to 100 employees and 90% of them earn less than Rs 15,000, the government will contribute to the EPF accounts from March to August 2020. Sitharaman had announced this scheme too — in May. This will provide relief to 3.67 lakh employers and 72.22 lakh employees.

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