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Friday, May 29, 2020

COVID-19 lockdown: Karnataka announces Rs 1,610 crore package 

The economic relief package is for workers in the unorganised sector including farmers, MSMEs, handloom weavers, autorickshaw drivers and others.

Written by Darshan Devaiah BP | Bengaluru | Updated: May 6, 2020 5:54:30 pm
Bengaluru: Karnataka CM BS Yeddyurappa during a meeting, in Bengaluru. (PTI)

The Karnataka government Wednesday announced an economic relief package of Rs 1,610 crore for farmers, MSMEs, handloom weavers, autorickshaw drivers and others amid COVID-19 lockdown.

Addressing a press conference, Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa said, “For more than one and a half months, workers in the unorganised sector in the state are facing tough times due to the lockdown. To address financial difficulties faced by them, a package of Rs. 1610 crore will be released for them as Covid-19 financial package.”

“Flower growers have destroyed their flowers following lack of demand in the lockdown. Hence, a compensation of Rs 25,000 per hectare limited to a maximum extent of one hectare for the crop loss will be provided to them. Farmers who have grown vegetables and fruits were not able to market their produce, and the government has decided to announce a relief package for them,” he added.

Yediyurappa also announced a new scheme for weavers on the lines of PM Kisan Samman Yojana. “We have decided to launch a new scheme “Nekarara Sammana Yojan under which Rs.2,000 will be directly deposited in the bank account of handloom weavers through Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT).Nearly 54,000 handloom weavers will be benefited by the scheme.”

A one-time relief of Rs 5,000 will be provided to washermen and barbers, both in urban and rural areas. Yediyurappa said the state has about 60,000 washermen and about 2,30,000 barbers.

The government has also decided to provide Rs 5,000 to autorickshaw drivers and taxi drivers whose income has dried up in the lockdown. The financial support will help about 7,75,000 auto and taxi drivers in the state.

Electricity bills of MSMEs waived for two months

The Yediyurappa government has decided to waive off monthly fixed charges of electricity bills of MSMEs for two months.

“MSMEs have suffered huge losses and are struggling to sustain in the lockdown. To rescue MSMEs from this unprecedented shock, it has been decided to waive off monthly fixed charges of electricity bills of MSMEs for two months,” Yediyurappa said.

“To support large industries to overcome the difficulties of lockdown, we have decided that payment of fixed charges in the electricity bills of large industries will be deferred without penalty and interest for a period of two months,” he added.

Benefits for electricity consumers

The Chief Minister also announced certain benefits for electricity consumers of all categories. “There will be reduction in the interest on the amount for the delayed payment, incentive to those who pay bills in advance,” Yediyurappa said.

“Electricity supply of consumers who have not paid the balance amount of electricity bill will not be disconnected till 30-06-2020,” he added.

Aid for construction workers

The state government has decided to provide financial support of Rs.3000 each to 15.80 lakh registered construction workers in the state. “This is over and above the Rs.2000 that is already being transferred to their accounts,” Yediyurappa said.

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