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economy | IST

COVID-19 economic relief package: Experts say not adequate, expected more

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I think the patient is in intensive care unit (ICU) and you are probably supplying homeopathic dose relief. There is no point in giving additional grains today. I would have preferred a clean cash transfer of Rs 5,000 straightaway, said Harish Damodaran, national editor of Indian Express.

Finance Minister (FM) Nirmala Sitharaman announced Rs 1.70 lakh crore economic relief package. She said this is the effort of the government to reach out to those who are most vulnerable.
The package includes a cash transfer scheme,  element of the food security and frontloading of the PM Kisan Yojana. To discuss the impact of all these announcements in detail. CNBC-TV18 spoke with Siraj Hussain, former Agri Secretary, Harish Damodaran, national editor of Indian Express and Ajay Srivastava, CEO of Dimensions Corporate Finance Services discussed this.
Hussain said, “It is a good decision but I am not very sure about 1 kilogram of pulses will be distributed because that is going to be logistically very difficult.”
According to him, it is a good arrangement but right now the problem is how the poor people going to manage the next three weeks. Movement of goods from the godowns to the fair priced shops takes its own time. So I do not see substantial part of this additional allocation being distributed in the next three weeks.
Damodaran said, “I think the patient is in intensive care unit (ICU) and you are probably supplying homeopathic dose relief. There is no point in giving additional grains today. I would have preferred a clean cash transfer of Rs 5,000 straightaway.”
Sharing his diappointmen, Srivastava said, "The government has to operate from one platform. You cannot expect them to just consume grains and not live anywhere. From a market standpoint and from a humanitarian standpoint, it is a good attempt but it is highly inadequate given what we are seeing the rest of the world is doing in this crisis. Secondly, there is no time to dillydally because people lose their jobs, their houses,  credit history goes and so the damage is done at the end of the day.". So, the package is inadequate, whatever is there is fine, we accept it. but from a standpoint of a poor person, I had expected a lot more. he added.