Centre announces Rs1.70 lakh crore relief package to deal covid 19

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday announced a Rs 1.70 lakh crore fiscal stimulus plan to aid the economy’s fight against the rapidly-spreading coronavirus pandemic. The relief measures included direct cash transfers (under the DBT or Direct Benefit Transfer scheme) and food security-related steps aimed at giving relief to the poor workers hit by the 21-day countrywide lockdown that began this week.

Addressing the media during market hours, Nirmala Sitharaman said the government has been working to protect the interests of those affected directly since the coronavirus-induced lockdown. “We have come with a package which will immediately take care of the welfare concerns of the poor and suffering workers, and those who need immediate help,” said the Finance Minister.

The relief measures come at a time when hopes of a stimulus package to strengthen the economy against the coronavirus pushed equity markets higher and put them on track to close in the green for the third session in a row. Many economists have warned of a sharp economic impact of the outbreak on India, which is already staring at the worst pace of annual GDP expansion recorded in more than 11 years.

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