Iran launches cash handout scheme covering 30 mln for four months

The Iranian government has launched a comprehensive cash handout scheme covering 30 million people for the next four months amid a fresh round of nationwide restrictions on economic activity which are meant to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Saturday that 29.7 million people will receive a monthly direct cash handout of one million rials ($24 on an official exchange rate) until the end of the current calendar year in late March.

Rouhani said the handouts will be in the form of grant and would come on top of a 10-million-rial loan that will be paid to 10 million households who have no fixed monthly income.

The rescue scheme was announced on the first day of two weeks of closures and restrictions on businesses and movement as the government struggles to contain a surging rate of coronavirus infection across Iran.

Shops and factories will close down over the period while movement between more than 150 cities will be tightly restricted.

ouhani’s announcement came days after a legislative watchdog mandated his government to introduce economic rescue measures covering 60 million people to comply with a parliament motion meant to help people economically during the pandemic.

It was not clear whether the new government scheme, which would cost 120 trillion rials ($480 million or unofficial rate), was separate from the parliament motion that stipulated that the government should pay nearly 300 trillion rials in direct subsidies for staples and basic goods over a period of six months.

The government currently pays nearly 50 trillion rials ($200 million) per month in benefits and handouts to some 70 million people.

Iran has been one of the worst-hit countries in the Middle East by the new coronavirus with the health ministry saying on Saturday that number of infections recorded since late February had exceeded 840,000.


Source: Press TV