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Impact of Covid-19 on Rural Development Sector

Measures were taken by the Ministry of Rural Development for providing relief and boosting employment and livelihood opportunities in rural areas during the Corona Virus pandemic. However, the Ministry has not undertaken any survey on the impact of COVID-19 on rural development sector.

Ministry of Finance, Government of India, on 26th March 2020, announced relief package under Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana (PMGKY) for the poor to help them fight the battle against Corona Virus. The relief package announced includes, inter-alia.

One-time ex-gratia payment of Rs 500 per month for 3 months (April, May and June 2020) to women Jan Dhan Account holders. In pursuance of this, Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD) implemented the scheme of relief package of one-time ex-gratia payment of Rs 500 per month for 3 months (April, May and June 2020) to women Jan Dhan Account holders through various Banks. A total of Rs. 30944.44 crores has been released towards direct benefit transfers to 20.64 crore Women beneficiaries of Jan Dhan account holders under Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) @ Rs. 500/- each for three months.

Ex-gratia of Rs.1000 in two installments (Rs.500/- each) to the existing old age, widow and disabled/Divyangjan beneficiaries of the schemes of National Social Assistance Programme(NSAP). A total of Rs. 2814.50 crore as ex-gratia was released in two tranches in April and May, 2020 to States/UTs under PMGKY for the existing 282 lakh beneficiaries of NSAP schemes.

Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (Mahatma Gandhi NREGA) wage rate revised w.e.f. 1.4.2020 with average wage rate increase of Rs.20 over the wage rate of 2019-20.

Apart from this, Government of India launched the Garib Kalyan Rojgar Abhiyaan (GKRA) on 20th June, 2020 for a period of 125 days to boost employment and livelihood opportunities for returnee migrant workers and similarly affected citizens in rural area, in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic. The objectives of the Abhiyaan were to provide immediate employment & livelihood opportunities to the distressed, to saturate the villages with public infrastructure and creation of livelihood assets to boost the income generation activities and enhance long term livelihood opportunities by giving focus on 25 works in 116 selected districts across 6 States of Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. The Abhiyaan is a convergent effort of ongoing 25 schemes of 12 Ministries/ Department of Central Government.

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