Relief Measures May Not Reach Everyone
Business Standard|March 27, 2020
Delivery mechanisms need to be strengthened: Experts
Sanjeeb Mukherjee

The Centre on Thursday announced a slew of measures to provide relief to poor and vulnerable sections of the population during the COVID-19 crisis, but the efficacy of many of these will depend on a robust last-mile delivery mechanism, which has been badly affected right from the start of the 21day lockdown.

Experts said most of the announcements pertain to beneficiaries of existing schemes. Hence, anyone who is not part of the current set of programmes may not be able to access the relief measures.

They also pointed out that in some cases, such as raising the MGNREGA wages by ₹20 per day, the measures were already in the works and would have come irrespective of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Moreover, an ex gratia payment of ₹1,000 over the next three months is also minuscule, considering that it translates into around ₹330 per month.

The Centre already gives a pension of ₹200-500 per month to poor widows, handicapped and others. After the current announcements, this will go up by %330 per month for the next three months.

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