Finance minister, Nirmala Sitharaman announced distribution of Rs 17,0000 crores to citizens in need through the Prime Minister Garib Kalyan Yojana Scheme (PM-GKYM). Thereby, ensuring the survival of the poor community through the lockdown period. Further, she urged that the said scheme will function within a week involving large cash transfers through all the State Governments.
PM-GKYM Scheme Provides Additional Benefits Owing to the Coronavirus
To assist the sustenance of the community through the Coronavirus pandemic for the next 3 months, the scheme provides the following,
- Initially, 5kg of grains were provided per person. Following the alignment of PM-GKYM scheme, an additional 5 kg of rice or wheat along with 1 kg of pulses is the added benefit.
- Nearly 8.69 crore farmers will receive an advance of Rs 2000 from PM-Kisan scheme.
- The government offers medical insurance of Rs 50 lakhs for the next 3 months. This is exclusive for all medical workers currently working to avert the crisis.
- The scheme aims to assist over 80 crore poor people, that account to two-thirds of the Indian population.
- Consequently, the government offers free cooking gas to all the families that are below the poverty line.
- Also, she has declared a hike in provident funds and withdrawal limits for everyone.
Additionally, the scheme also aims to provide the following benefits
- Increase the wages under MGNREGA (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act). Accordingly, the hike will be from Rs 182 to Rs 202. Also, offers an additional increment of Rs 2000 per worker on average.
- An ex-gratia payment of Rs 500 is provided for the next 3 months to all Women Jan Dhan account holders.
- A One-time ex-gratia payment of Rs 1000 is provided to all widows, pensioners, and specially-abled individuals.
- Individuals under the Deen Dayal Yojana were priorly eligible for collateral-free loans up to 10 lakhs. Following the alignments, these loans have a limit of Rs 20 lakhs.
- The center will pay the Provident fund for both employees and the employer for the coming 3 months. In case the firm has over 100 employees of which 90% receive less than Rs 15000 per month. Then, these employees will get a non-refundable loan of 75% of the fund or 3 months of wages.
Role of the Banking Sector
The PM-GKYM decision of assistance majorly affects the banking sector. The banking sector regardless of the nationwide lockdown is functional with minimal employees. Even though majority firms have their employees on hold or with minimal work hours from home, the banking sector has no such constraints. Also, are permitted to work full hours. Further, to distribute the funds as per the Nirmala Sitharaman’s announcement, they must disperse a sum of Rs 27,500 crore within a week.
Accordingly, this requires the functioning of the following sectors,
- General banking staff
- Staff for cash management and ATM facilities
- IT vendors (for bank services)
The banking sector is working extra hours following the locking and announcement of several schemes (PM-GKYM). Also, they may have to follow this fashion for a couple more weeks to keep the financial flow. Moreover, the banking sector is key to dispersing the funds to beneficiaries within a short duration of time. However, it is suggested that they keep these services up with minimalistic workforce and in an organized staggered manner to ensure social distance.