New Delhi: Centre on August 20 decided to ease norms and offer a 50 percent salary for three months as an unemployment allowance. The allowance is for the workers who lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, they must be members of the Employees State Insurance Corporation (ESIC). Workers who lost their jobs between March 24 and December 31 this year will get the allowance. In another statement, the ESIC has decided to extend the scheme for one more year. The scheme is now extended up-to June 30, 2021. The enhanced relief under the new relaxed conditions will be payable during the period of March 24, 2020, to December 31, 2020. Thereafter the scheme will be available with original eligibility condition during the period January 1, 2021, to June 30, 2021. Under the Atal Bimit Vyakti Kalyna Yojna (ABVKY) scheme, the ESIC board gave approval to relaxation in eligibility criteria. Under the ABVKY scheme, the unemployment benefit is for workers under the ESIC scheme. This decision will benefit about 40 Lakh industrial workers. This move by the Centre is a major relief for the industrial workers who lost their jobs. This will also benefit those who are on the verge of losing their jobs. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown have caused a deep impact on our lives. There are demands from several sections to provide wage relief to the workers hit by the pandemic. The Finance Ministry and NITI Aayog also demanded to ease the rules. The employees can claim the allowance for three months. However, they must be a member of the ESIC scheme for two years. Also, they should have contributed at least 78 days during the period from October 1, 2019, to March 31, 2020.