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India announces $23bn welfare package to combat coronavirus

Government offers cash and grains over the next three months

Indians in Kolkata adhere to social distancing rules while waiting to buy medicine during a 21-day nationwide lockdown to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus in Kolkata.   © Reuters

NEW DELHI -- With 1.3 billion people locked down for three weeks in India to contain the spread of coronavirus, the government on Thursday announced a 1.7-trillion-rupee ($22.6 billion) welfare program for the poor that includes direct cash transfers and the provision of grains for free.

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