COVID-19: Govt mulls EMI relief, cash in Jan Dhan a/cs

Relief on EMI payments, cash in Jan Dhan accounts on govt's anvil to ease coronavirus burden

Representative image. (Credit: Pixabay Photo)

Transferring money in the Jan Dhan accounts and putting a freeze on payment of loans by individuals and smaller companies are some of the measures being discussed and could be implemented subsequently to help people face the situation arising out of coronavirus.

“There could be a huge need for cash to thousands of poor people, who survive on daily income. We will soon come out with steps to tackle that,” an official told DH on what are the measures the government is expected to take for those who are vulnerable.

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On whether there could be a direct transfer of cash to Jan Dhan accounts, he said, that is not ruled out.

The payment of EMIs by individuals for their home, auto and other personal loans could see a temporary stoppage till the situation begins to turn normal, sources said, adding this and the other measures are being discussed by the officials of the Finance Ministry, the Prime Minister’s Office and the Reserve Bank of India.

The EMI freeze could initially be announced till June 30 and could be further extended. The discussions are going on, another source said on the condition of anonymity.

Also Read: Coronavirus India update: State-wise total number of confirmed cases

Similarly, the government could also give relief to people on utility bill payments. Any delay in such bill payments will not be liable to be fined by the authorities. There are moves to further reduce the prices of cooking gas for poor people. That could be done by enlarging the subsidy.

"Measures will be announced in tranches. First, for the poor," the official said. He said meetings in the ministries have been going on continuously only to piece together the relief measures.

Asked about the cost to the exchequer, he said, at the moment the government was neither concerned about inflation aspect nor about the burden to the treasury. "At the moment the prime concern is to send relief to all those in need," he said.

To start with, steps are also being discussed to provide food grains as an alternative to cash is also being discussed.

The government has already announced a slew of measures for statutory and regulatory compliances.

The new set of measures are expected within this week. After that, the RBI will announce its monetary policy on April 3. The second set of credit and liquidity enhancement measures for businesses will be announced then, sources said.

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