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PM Garib Kalyan Yojana (PMGKY)-Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana (PMGKY) was launched by the Government of India and came into effect in 2016. It allows individuals to deposit money that has not been taxed. Under the scheme, 50% of the untaxed amount must be paid. The scheme was initially valid from December 2016 to March 2017. However, it was later extended till the month of June 2020.
Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced a package of Rs.1.70 lakh crore under the scheme shortly after the announcement of national lockdown. As part of the package, government announced medical insurance coverage of Rs.50 lakh per person to around 20 lakh COVID-19 warriors.
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Objectives of PM Garib Kalyan Yojana
The PMGKY was initially launched to bring back black money from tax evaders by offering them protection from government prosecution. Under the PM garib kalyan yojana scheme, the govt. opened a window for tax evaders to disclose unaccounted income with a 49.9% tax rate. The plan was to use the deposited amount for eliminating income inequality in the country.
With the scheme extension in 2020, the govt. announced relief packages during the COVID-19 pandemic. The objective of the extension was to prevent employment disruption of low wage earning employees and support small establishments (with up to 100 employees). Under the extension, the central govt. provided entire employee EPF contributions (12% of the total wages) and employers’ EPF & EPS contributions (12% of wages), totalling 24% of the monthly wages for three months. Along with this, the govt. also announced relief packages to support the poor through various schemes. A relief package worth Rs. 1.70 lakh crore was announced by the Union Finance & Corporate Affairs Minister Ms. Nirmala Sitharaman under the PMGKY.
Details of PM Garib Kalyan Yojana
The Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana 2020 aims to provide relief to different sections of the society such as migrant workers, farmers, urban & rural poor and women. The govt. identified sections that were hit the hardest amid COVID-induced economic disruptions. To focus on each section, the govt. launched several schemes under the PMGKY. The following three schemes are noteworthy:
- PM Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana – Provision of food grains to the poor (rural & urban) through the PDS
- Cash Transfer Scheme – Rs. 500 each to women who have Jan Dhan accounts
- Insurance Scheme – Medical insurance to health workers including doctors, nurses, Asha workers, paramedics and sanitation workers.
Components of PM Garib Kalyan Yojana
PM Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana
This is the worlds’ largest food security scheme launched by the Government of India to combat COVID-induced economic disruptions. The scheme aims to ensure food safety (of the poor) by providing food items including 5 kg rice/wheat per individual and 1 kg gram per family every month for free. All beneficiaries of the targeted public distribution system (TPDS) for Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) and priority household (PHH) ration cardholders are eligible for food grains under this scheme. The other key features are:
- 80 crore individuals, i.e., ~66% of India’s population was covered under this scheme
- Each one of them received double of their current entitlement. This additionality was free of cost.
- To ensure availability of protein, 1 kg of pulses were provided to families (as per regional preferences).
Cash Transfer Scheme
Under this, a total of 20.40 crore PMJDY women accountholders received a monthly cash transfer of Rs. 500. In the first three months of the scheme, over Rs. 31,000 crore was deposited in the bank accounts of these women accountholders.
Insurance Scheme for Health Workers Fighting COVID-19
Under this scheme, the govt. has insured health professionals treating COVID-19 patients. In case of accidental death of these healthcare professionals, the family would be compensated with an amount of Rs. 50 lakh. Accidental death includes death due to COVID or accident while engaging with COVID-related duty. The premium of this scheme is being borne by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
Public healthcare providers including community health workers, private hospital staff and retired /volunteers/local urban bodies/contracted/daily wage/ad-hoc/outsourced staff requisitioned by the states/central hospitals/autonomous hospitals of the Central/States/UTs, AIIMS and INIs/hospital of the Central Ministries are included in this scheme. Apart from these healthcare professionals, employees such as ’safai karamcharis’, ward boys, nurses, ASHA workers, paramedics, technicians, doctors & specialists and other health workers were also covered. The scheme covered ~22 lakh health workers who are fighting the pandemic.
Other prominent schemes launched or accelerated through PMGKY includes the following:
Advance Payments to Farmers under PM KISAN
To support farmers during COVID, the govt. advanced the first instalment of PM Kisan Yojana. The installment of Rs. 2,000 was due in 2020-21, but was frontloaded and paid in April 2020. This covered about 8.7 crore farmers.
Support to Low-wage Earners in Organized Sectors
To support small businesses, the govt. proposed to pay 24% of employees’ monthly wages into their PF accounts.
Wage earners (earning below Rs. 15,000 per month) in a business with <100 workers were eligible for this scheme.
Free Gas Cylinders to Poor Families
For three months starting April 2020, the government provided free liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) cylinders to over 8 crore Prime Minister Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) beneficiaries.
MNREGA Worker Support
The govt. increased MNREGA wages by Rs. 20 with effect from April 1, 2020. The step was to provide an additional per capital benefit of Rs. 2,000 to a worker. Approximately 13.62 crore families benefitted from this scheme.
Support to Senior Citizens
To support the senior citizens and people with disabilities, the govt. transferred Rs. 1,000 for three months to 3 crore aged widows and people in the Divyang (handicapped) category.
The PMGKY is making rapid progress toward its goal of eradicating poverty in the country. Not only has the initiative resulted in the repatriation of black money from tax evaders, but it has also aided the government in dealing with the issues of pandemic-related economic disruptions. PMGKY presented a plan for assisting poor people during COVID and aided the country in preventing the rich-poor income split from widening further.
The government has helped poor persons maintain their everyday lives despite their inability to work through a variety of schemes and packages under the PMGKY.
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