Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that 7,200 new self-help groups (SHGs) consisting of urban poor were formed during the period starting March 15. In order to support migrants and urban poor in the last two months amid coronavirus lockdown, the Centre provided hygienically prepared meals three times daily for residents of Shelters for Urban Homeless (SUH).
Sitharaman further added that 12,000 SHGs have produced 3 crore masks and 1.20 lakh litres of sanitisers amid the lockdown. "This gave additional employment opportunities to the urban poor," said Sitharaman during her press conference.
The Finance Minister said that disbursal of revolving fund (RF) to SHGs was on-boarded on PAiSA portal in April on a pilot basis in Gujarat. She said that it is now being rolled out across all the states.
The minister stated that the Centre allowed the states to utilise the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF). She said that the funds were used to set up shelter for migrants and provide them with food and water. In order to augment the SDRFs, the Centre also released Rs 11,002 crore of its contribution in advance on April 3.
The minister said that the government sanctioned 63 lakh loans worth Rs 86,600 crore to the agriculture sector. The minister said that these loans were approved in the period from March 1 to April 30. National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) refinanced Rs 29,500 crore to cooperative banks as well as regional rural banks in March, as part of liquidity support to farmers and rural economy amid the coronavirus lockdown, she said.