India announced a 1.7 trillion rupee ($22.6 billion) economic stimulus plan that will be released through direct cash transfers and food security measures aimed at giving relief to millions of poor hit by the nationwide lockdown in the country.
The relief package includes medical insurance cover of $66,400 per person to those working on the frontlines, such as medical workers, sanitation workers and community health workers. This measure will cover around 2 million people.
The government will provide 800 million people — nearly two-thirds of the country’s population — with 5 kilograms of rice or wheat each month for the next three months for free.
Other measures announced include fast-tracking subsidies and benefits for farmers, construction workers, widows and the disabled as well as increasing the minimum wage.
The move comes two days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi ordered a 21-day nationwide lockdown to try to protect India’s 1.3 billion people from the fast-spreading coronavirus.