Congress leader P. Chidambaram addressing a press conference in New Delhi on the JNU violence
File image of Congress leader P. Chidambaram addressing a press conference in New Delhi | Photo: Manisha Mondal | ThePrint
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New Delhi: Former finance minister and senior Congress leader P. Chidambaram  Wednesday suggested the government to provide direct cash support to urban and rural poor to alleviate their distress during and after the 21-day lockdown period.

Chidambaram said that current employment and wages have to be protected while stressing the need to support Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the state governments in this time of crisis.

He added his proposals will address the immediate challenge of putting cash in the hands of the people and the need for more cash transfers could be assessed depending on the evolving situation.  

Presenting a 10-point plan, Chidambaram has proposed to double the payouts under the PM-KISAN scheme to Rs 12,000 from Rs 6,000, and immediate transfer of this amount to the beneficiaries and bringing tenant farmers under the scheme. 

He also favoured transferring a sum of Rs 3,000 into the bank accounts of each beneficiary under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme. He conceded there could be some double payments because of overlapping beneficiaries but said that if this was 15 per cent, it was still worth doing the transfers.


Also read: Chidambaram can’t tamper with evidence, no need to arrest him now: ED tells Delhi court


Distribution of free food grains

For the urban poor, Chidamabaram has suggested transfer of Rs 6,000 into their Jan Dhan and No Frill accounts. 

Besides cash transfers, the former finance minister also favoured distribution of free food grains through ration shops. He suggested giving 10 kg of wheat or rice free to the people in the next 21 days, while arranging for home delivery of these food grains.

To protect jobs, Chidambaram urged the central government to ask registered employers to maintain the current level of employment and wages, while assuring them that the wages paid will be reimbursed within 30 days of payment.

To ensure even the homeless get some support, he suggested such people should be given Rs 3,000 after opening their bank accounts. 

He also suggested that banks should extend the date of payment of any equated monthly installment until 30 June. He also favoured a cut in GST rates by 5 per cent on all wage goods, essential goods and services, and goods of mass consumption for the first quarter. 

Lockdown to hit economy

The Indian economy is likely to be badly hit as the 21-day lockdown announced to curb the spread of the highly infectious novel coronavirus has brought economic activity to a near halt, leaving many jobless. 

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, in a press conference Tuesday, assured that the government was working on a comprehensive economic package to provide relief to everyone who has been affected. She had said that the package will be announced soon.

Many states have already announced relief packages, aimed at providing free food grains and cash in the hands of the poor.


Also read: Chidambaram, Tharoor lead Congress support for PM’s COVID-19 speech, but with a caveat


 

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4 COMMENTS

  1. Surely this ex mantri will have pots of money stashed in India, abroad and with his Khandaan can credit to each individual account of poor migrants as he was earlier mantri for banks and his cronies will help. Rs 10000 per migrant will bring cheers on their face. Only thing is election commission has to treat this transfer in right spirit

  2. Chidambaram is having sufficient funds earned during his tenure. Let him transfer 10000 crores. Summa vayile nalla vasai suduvar Chettiar.
    Innuma makkal Ivara nambikittu irukkanga.

  3. Chidambaram ji, good chance to transfer or donate all your’s and son’s ill gotten money to the poor of India. All least you will die peacefully.

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