efe-epaBy Iqbal Abhimanyu and Sarwar Kashani New Delhi

India on Thursday announced measures worth 1.7 trillion rupees (around $22.5 billion) to help the poor and most vulnerable segments of the population, which have been hit hard by economic activity grinding to a halt amid a total lockdown aimed at preventing an outbreak of the new coronavirus.

On the second day of the three-week nationwide shutdown, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced at a press conference that the government would release food aid for two-thirds of the population - around 800 million people - and release cash, subsidies and loans for the poor, farmers, construction workers and rural women.EFE-EPA