Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday (March 26) announced Rs 1.7 lakh crore financial package approved by the Centre to tackle the coronavirus pandemic.
Addressing a press conference, Sitharaman also announced that the Centre will pay the EPF contribution both of the employer and the employee (12% each) for the next three months under PM Gareen Kalyan Scheme.
The Union Minister remarked that the scheme will be applicable for companies with up to 100 employees, where 90% of employees are gettting less than Rs 15,000 as salary.
”Put together it will be 24%, this will be for next 3 months. This is for those establishments which have upto 100 employees and 90% of them earn less than 15,000.” the Union Finance Minister said.
Sitharaman also said that the Centre has decided to amend EPFO regulations which will benefit 4.8 crore employees. After the amendment, workers under EPFO will be allowed to to draw up to 75% of their non-refundable advance or 3 months of wages, whichever is lower.
”Govt is ready to amend the regulation of EPF due to this pandemic so that workers can draw upto 75% non-refundable advance from credit in PF account or 3 months’ salary, whichever is lower. This decision is going to benefit 4.8 crore workers,” noted Sitharaman
On Tuesday (March 24), Sitharaman had announced some measures to deal with coronavirus pandemic, including extension of tax deadlines till June 30, easing minimum balance norms for savings account, and increasing threshold of insolvency filing to Rs one crore from Rs one lakh.
Talking aboiut the Rs 1.7 lakh crore financial package the Union Minister said that the package is ready for the poor who need immediate help like migrant workers and urban and rural poor. She added that no one will go hungry in the country due to coronavirus outbreak.
As per Union Health Ministry`s latest bulletin, the total number of COVID-19 positive cases has climbed to 649 in the country, including 593 active cases, 42 cured or discharged people and 13 deaths.
It may be noted that the Prime Minister, for a second time in a week, on Tuesday evening announced a 21-day countrywide lockdown from midnight due to the outbreak of the coronavirus