COVID-19: Join NGO YUVA ‘s Effort to Support Vulnerable Communities in Mumbai
India’s COVID-19 count is now nearing 400 and Maharashtra’s count is now nearly 100. Taking other countries afflicted by the virus as an example, experts believe that we are now in a critical stage and containing the spread of the virus will be crucial in the coming weeks.
Our vast communities of poor, underprivileged people are most vulnerable during this time and one non-profit organisation, Youth for Unity and Voluntary Action (YUVA) has stepped up in support. 
People who are homeless or daily wage earners who have lost jobs, have been unable to procure basic food and other essential items. With a city like Mumbai, there are several households who are surviving on little or no food. Over the past few days, YUVA has been reaching out to low-income and vulnerable communities, to understand the situation and offer support. They have rapidly assessed over 20 settlements across 4 cities in the Greater Mumbai area – Vasai Virar, Mumbai, Navi Mumbai and Panvel, covering more than 1,500 families and revealed that some communities are in dire need of support. 
Some groups that were already vulnerable, such as the homeless and individuals from disadvantaged communities, are almost on the brink of starvation. Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) centres or anganwadis, where children between the age of 0-6 years are provided basic nutrition have stopped daily food supplies in many areas. With schools being closed for the last few days, mid day meals for such children have also stopped. 
YUVA’s early assessment of the situation has helped identify the needs of such communities and they have in turn launched a campaign, ‘Together We Can’, to raise funds and support in the form of food grains, offering emergency relief to the urban poor. They have started this support giving priority to the most marginalised families first, which have been identified through a rigorous process. 
YUVA has now been providing families with a basic food kit in quantities meant for a week’s worth of ration per package. This package costs Rs600 and includes 5kg rice, 2kg wheat flour, 2kg dal, 1 litre cooking oil and soap. They has already distributed basic provisions to 200 homeless families, comprising more than 1,000 individual and are continuing this support each day only through donations made in support of this campaign. 
The organisation has also maintained their advocacy efforts with the government to take forward demands of these vulnerable communities. YUVA has submitted an unequivocal list of demands to the Government of Maharashtra, in light of work and sources of income being impacted, closure of schools and ICDS centres, and forced eviction notices being sent to informal settlements. Their demands include a relief fund for daily wage workers, ensuring steady supply of take-home rations and much more.
YUVA’s fundraising efforts are ongoing and they are currently accepting support in the form of cash and essential items (food grains and non-perishable foods only). 
Moneylife Foundation would be joining this effort to help spread the message and allow its members, who are concerned about the plight of those who have lost their livelihoods to donate to the cause. Moneylife Foundation is also working to source  supplies and connecting with other leading corporate NGOs to streamline the process. 
Although we expect the government of India to step forward and take care of the lowest end of the pyramid, it will probably take time for direct benefit transfer or the increased supply of food through the public distribution system to be ramped up in a crisis. The need is to help out until the government machinery starts functioning and to plug any remaining gaps later. 
We will keep you  updated about other ways in which you can donate. 
To support the campaign monetarily, please follow the following steps – 
1. As an Indian national you can donate to:
Payee Name: Youth for Unity and Voluntary Action (YUVA) FCRA
Bank: Axis Bank Savings Account
Branch: Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, Maharashtra
Account no.: 911010054680968
IFSC code: UTIB0000489
2. Send a screenshot of the payment you have made through WhatsApp on +91 9830795695 or +91 9167723237. You can also send a Direct Message (DM) to their social media handles on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. This will allow them to confirm and send an acknowledgment receipt. 
3. On receiving confirmation you shall be sent a separate donor form to fill as YUVA needs some basic mandatory details to remain transparent in their financial reporting.
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    India to Provide Rs1.70 Lakh Crore Relief Package to Weaker Section; Doctors, Nurses, Paramedics Get Rs50 Lakh Medical Insurance Each
    The Indian government on Thursday announced a relief package worth Rs1.70 lakh crore to protect weaker sections of the society from the economic fallout of corona virus (COVID-19). This package announced as part of the Pradhan Mantri Gareeb Kalyan Yojana will benefit farmers, migrant workers, urban and rural poor, women, and divyang. 
    Announcing the financial package, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman, also said the frontline warriors like doctors, nurses, paramedics, Asha workers and cleaning workers would be provided a medial insurance worth Rs50 lakh each.
    Due to the corona virus outbreak, the FM says, provident fund scheme regulations will be amended. "Workers can draw 75% of deposit or three-month wages, whichever is lower, as non-refundable advance. This will benefit 4.8 crore workers registered with Employees Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO). The union government will also pay contribution of both employer and employee (10% each) - for the next three months, so that nobody suffers due to loss of continuity in EPF. This is for all such establishments, which have less than 100 employees, out of which 90% of whom draw less than Rs15,000 rupees per month as wages or salary," she added.
    One-time amount of Rs1,000 rupees will be given to senior citizens, widows and Divyang people, in two installments over the next three months, which, Ms Sitharaman says is expected to benefit three crore people. 
    In addition to the 5 kg of wheat or rice, each person to get additional 5 kgs of wheat or rice per person free for the next three months, she says, adding additional 1kg of pulses to be given for each household, so that no poor person goes hungry.
    "Today's measures are intended at reaching out to the poorest of the poor, with food and money in hands, so that they do not face difficulties in buying essential supplies and meeting essential needs," she says.

    Under the cash transfer part, the minister said that it will largely be based on direct benefit transfer (DBT) through which farmers, migrant workers, widows, pensioners amongst others will be provided relief.

    For farmers, the first instalment of the Rs6,000 per year given under PM Kisan Yojana will be given at the beginning of the year itself. So Rs2,000 will be provided into the accounts of farmers, a move that will immediately benefit 8.69 crore farmers.

    The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Gurantee Act (MNREGA) wages have also been increased from present Rs182 per day to Rs202. "As a result, we expect Rs20 per worker will be the additional income that will benefit 5 crore families," the minister said.

    Ms Sitharaman also decided to provide cash into the account of three crore senior citizens to help them cope with the current crisis. Accordingly, one time amount of Rs1,000 will be provided in two instalments into their account.

    Also, Ujjawala cooking gas connection holders, over eight crore women now, will get free LPG cylinders for the next three months.

    The 63 lakh women Self help groups (SHGs), that benefits seven crore households, will be provided collateral free loans, under the Deen Dayal National Rural livelihood mission, of Rs20 lakh - double the existing amount of Rs10 lakh.

    In yet another relief measure, the finance minister announced that the government would bear entire 24% EPF contribution of employer and employees for next three months. This support will be for employees of establishments that employ upto 100 employees and wages of 90% of their employees is less than Rs15,000 per month.

    Moreover, about 3.5 crore registered building and construction workers would be provided assistance and support from the Rs31,000 crore welfare funds.

    "We will be giving directions to the state governments to ensure that the fund can be utilised for helping those who are facing economic disruption as a result of this particular lockdown," the FM said.

    The Centre has also requested the state governments to utilise the funds which are available under the district mineral fund for supplementing and augmenting all kinds of medical testing activities, screening activities, and also other requirements, which are so necessary now to fight the coronavirus and from preventing its spread.

    While details on the financing of the package or the fiscal implication have not be provided, CARE Rating says, assuming that the entire Rs1.7 lakh crore is additional expenditure that is to be incurred over the budgeted expenditure for FY2021 (of Rs30.4 lakh crore) and the projected gross domestic product (GDP) is retained, the fiscal deficit would increase by 0.75% from the budget target of 3.5% to 4.3% of GDP.

    "However, given that GDP growth for the year is expected to decline, the fiscal deficit would widen further. If this expenditure is to be met through additional market borrowings it would pressure bond market yields and thereby interest rates," the ratings agency says.

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    3 months ago

    HER term " Pensioners " includes ALL or only the weaker sections / BPL ?

    I am a senior citizen , a PSB pensioner ( not a very great pension amount )


    3 months ago



    3 months ago

    Very true. We are a country of 150 crores. The acts seem to be done as if everything / everyone is connected, literate, has a home and necessities. First the govt announces and then next day they are thinking of how to give passes to delivery agents. Is 1.7 Lac core worth the lockdown + more announced by the governor today. I am surprised by the opposition leaders too who seem to have meekly accepted without questioning the arrangements. Could it be that the hot climate here was a natural immunity to the coronavirus ? And we just over reacted. Low infection / fatality certainly cannot be credited to our healthcare?

    Friday's prayers suspended in all mosques across country
    All Muslim sects have suspended the Friday prayers in mosques and urged the faithful to follow the government decision for a complete nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of coronavirus. However, the calls for prayers will continue to be made from mosques at the designated hours.
    Jamaat-e-Islami Sharia Council said in a statement: "The Friday prayers (Juma Namaz) should be observed (only by Imams, muezzins, khadims, and administrators of mosques). The prayers and the ‘khutbah' (speech) should be completed in the minimum possible period whereas the remaining public should conduct the ‘Zohar' prayer at home."
    The Shia sect's religious leaders too decided to suspended the Friday prayers across the country and asked the followers to remain indoors.
    Maulana Ashraf, Imam of Mumbai, said: "We have suspended the Friday prayers and daily prayers in mosques since last week. This arrangement will continue till the government desires as the primary objective should be to save human lives and follow the government directive. We are appealing to the people to remain indoors from mosque loudspeakers and the social media."
    Kashmir's Grand Mufti Nasir-ul-Islam said that he had also appealed for the suspension of Friday and daily prayers and it's allowed in Islam.
    The mosques in the national capital and elsewhere are only giving calls for prayers to the faithful whereas only three to five persons offer prayers on the premises while adhering to social distancing norm, said a muezzin.
    Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.
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