Budget 2021: FM announces One Nation One Ration, affordable housing, and other benefits to migrant workers

During the Budget presentation, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitaraman announced a number of schemes and benefits for migrant workers for the year 2021-2022.

Presenting the Union Budget 2021, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitaraman said that this year’s Budget rests on six pillars - Health and Wellbeing, Physical & Financial Capital, Infrastructure, Inclusive Development for Aspirational India, Reinvigorating Human Capital, Innovation and R&D, and Minimum Government and Maximum Governance.

Under the third pillar of Inclusive Development for Aspirational India, the finance minister announced the launch of the “One Nation One Ration Card scheme through which beneficiaries can claim their rations anywhere in the country.”

She said that migrant workers may benefit the most from this scheme since those staying away from their families can partially claim their ration where they are stationed, while their family, in their native places, can claim the rest.

“The One Nation One Ration Card plan is under implementation by 32 states and UTs, reaching about 69 crores beneficiaries – that’s a total of 86 percent beneficiaries covered. The remaining four states and UTs will integrate it in the next few months,” she announced during the Budget 2021 speech.

FM Nirmala Sitharaman

To further extend efforts towards the unorganised labour force, including migrant workers, gig workers, and construction workers, the finance minister proposed the launch of a portal that will collect relevant information on these workers.

“This will help formulate Health, Housing, Skill, Insurance, Credit, and food schemes for migrant workers,” she said.

Sitaraman added that this will conclude a process that begun 20 years ago, with the implementation of 4 labour codes. The minimum wages will apply to all categories of workers, and will be covered by the Employees State Insurance Corporation.

“At the same time, the compliance burden on employers will be reduced with a single registration and licensing, and online returns,” she said.

Talking about financial inclusion, the minister said, “To further facilitate credit flow under the scheme of Stand Up India for SCs, STs, and women, I propose to reduce the margin money requirement from 25 percent to 15 percent, and to also include loans for activities allied to agriculture.”

In Part B of her speech, the finance minister also announced affordable housing for the migrants, saying, “We are committed to promote the supply of affordable rental housing for migrant workers. For this, I propose to allow tax exemption for notified Affordable Rental Housing Projects.

For YourStory's multimedia coverage of Budget 2021, visit YourStory's Budget 2021 page or budget.yourstory.com

Edited by Megha Reddy


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