‘Game-changer’ in Covid-19 times: Bihar Dy CM Sushil Modi lauds Centre’s relief measures

Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Modi on Friday said that claims of non-refundable advance from Provident Fund (PF), made by 13,952 workers employed in the state, have already been approved.

Speaking to India Today TV, Sushil Modi said that a sum of Rs 26 crore has already been paid to them.

“It will help the working class tide over any personal financial challenge, which they may have been facing in the times of Covid-19 pandemic,” the deputy chief minister said.

He also described the Centre’s decision of increasing the limit of collateral-free lending from Rs 10 to Rs 20 lakh for women Self Help Groups (SHGs) as a “game-changer which will enable increased access to money.”

“We have already communicated the directive to the banks and are keeping a close tab on the process to ensure easy disbursal of loans. Bihar has as many as 9.20 lakh SHGs, involving one crore women, functional at present. This should help them in times to come as the incentive is not time-barred,” Sushil Modi said.

Earlier, Union Ministry of Labour and Employment had allowed the Employees’ Provident Fund account holders to withdraw Basic Pay plus the Dearness Allowance (DA) of three months, or 75 per cent of their PF money, whichever is lower, as a non-refundable advance to face the Covid-19 crisis.

“Specific instructions have been issued for quick processing of all such claims made under this head,” Modi told India Today.

Bihar Deputy CM Sushil Modi, who also holds the finance portfolio in the state government, said that as many as 93,775 workers earning below 15,000 and working in 5,200 business units of Bihar are set to gain from Union finance minister’s earlier announcement of the government paying the EPF contribution of both, the employer and the employee for three months.

Centre had made the announcement for wage earners earning below Rs 15,000 per month in businesses having less than 100 workers. Centre had initially proposed to pay the EPF contribution for three months, the period of which was slated to end on May 31, however, earlier this week, it extended the EPF relief till August 2020.

Although so far, only 1,393 units (of 5,200 business units that fall under this category in Bihar) have applied for this specific relief, the Deputy CM said he was hopeful that the remaining eligible business units would also catch up now with Centre extending the relief for the next three months.

“As these measures push more money into the hands of people, the government will succeed in protecting livelihoods of the people, besides supporting their household budgets,” he said.

“This money in the hands of the people will increase liquidity in times of the pandemic and would help them a great deal,” Sushil Modi added.

The Bihar deputy CM also said that as many as 2.33 crore women Jan Dhan account holders in Bihar have already been given Rs 500 per month for April, May and June.

In addition to this, a total of 63 lakh farmers in Bihar have been given the first instalment of Rs 2,000 under the PM KISAN Yojana, Modi said.

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About the author: Sohom Das
Founder of Tuccho.

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