India, March 26 -- New Delhi The Narendra Modi government will make an advance payout of its universal cash-for-farmers programme, PM-KISAN, on April 1, 2 or 3, rather than in June, responding to the coronavirus epidemic, which could upend agriculture, the country's largest employer.

The package announced by finance minister also said two-thirds of Indians, about 800 million people, currently eligible for cheap grains under the National Food Security Act, would be given double their quota of foodgrain ration, up from the usual 5kg per person.

Under PM-KISAN, the government provides an income support of Rs 6000 a year to farmers with a valid enrolment, paid in three equal cash transfers of Rs 2000 -- one every four months. It was launched ...