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India Unveils Economic Stimulus Package

nirmalasitharaman 032620 lt

India's government unveiled an economic stimulus package worth INR 1.7 trillion as the nation faces complete lockdown to contain the spread of coronavirus, or covid-19.

Measures were aimed to help low income households, daily wage earners and small businesses, who are more vulnerable to the 21-day lockdown.

"We don't want anyone to remain hungry, or without money. So we will be giving enough to take care of their food grains requirement, protein requirement, in terms of pulses," Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said at a press conference on Thursday.

The package includes food security, cash transfer, free cooking gas, contribution to employees' provident fund and relief to construction workers. The minister announced an insurance cover of INR 5 million to front line medical professionals and workers.

The government plans to provide free cooking gas to 83 million families over the next three months and also cash transfer to 200 million women and the elderly.

Prime Minsiter Narendra Modi announced a complete lockdown across the country for 21 days from Tuesday midnight, asserting that it was "very necessary to break the chain of coronavirus."

Earlier, Prakash Sakpal, an ING economist said the three-week nationwide lockdown will significantly dent India's GDP growth, making this an even worse year for the economy than the 2008 Global financial crisis.

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