FM Sitharaman said that the move will ensure that the states do not face any cash constraint in distributing food to those in need.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharamna today allowed states and Union Territories to lift foodgrain from FCI on three-month credit for distributing to poor and needy amid the coronavirus scare. The decision has come amid the lockdown of many states due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The government said that it aims to ensure an adequate supply of foodgrains to the public, and financially assist the state governments and the Department of Expenditure with this step. The proposal to allow the states and UTs to lift foodgrains for three months on credit from FCI was proposed by the Food & Public Distribution Department. FM Sitharaman also said that this will ensure that the states do not face any cash constraint in distributing food to those in need.
Earlier in the evening, FM Sitharaman said that the government is ensuring the uninterrupted and smooth functioning of the Government Expenditure system during the containment period of COVID-19 by declaring the government expenditure system to be an essential service. To ensure the expenditure system to function quickly to cope with any emergent needs, she has also ordered all offices connected with the payment functions of the government to remain open to restrict financial delays.
The @FinMinIndia ensures uninterrupted and smooth functioning of the Government Expenditure system during the containment period of COVID-19 by declaring Govt. Expenditure system to be an essential service, thereby ordering all offices connected with the payment functions (1/2) pic.twitter.com/Qi4mnEJiOI
— NSitharamanOffice (@nsitharamanoffc) March 23, 2020
Meanwhile, the cases related to Covid-19 in India have ballooned to 415 so far and seven deaths have already been observed in India. Almost all the quarters of the economy are suffering, as they were already walking through a rough road due to a longer-than-anticipated slowdown in recent months. While flights and trains are cancelled, many states and cities are locked down. The markets and businesses are suffering due to closure, zero footfall, and steep fall in demand.