From free ration to cash in bank accounts, UP, Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat are among a number of states that have stepped up to help the unorganised labour sector — construction workers to street vendors — get through weeks without work under the coronavirus lockdown.
In most of these states, the workers will get Rs 1,000-1,500 as one-time relief through direct cash transfers, apart from ration assistance.
Reducing economic disruption
These targeted measures for the poor and daily wage workers, along with a series of other steps for companies and the banking sector, are being finalised to ease the extraordinary disruption in economy, which is forcing the Centre to let fiscal deficit expand and borrow more.
India’s unorganised workers make up 82.7 per cent or 39.14 crore of the total 47.41 crore estimated employed persons, according to last NSSO Employment and Unemployment Survey, 2011-12.
Uttar Pradesh – Rs 235 crore by March 31
Benefit: Rs 1,000 per month for daily wage labourers, rickshaw pullers and street vendors, etc., under the Shramik Bharan Poshan Yojna for about 35 lakh beneficiaries — the scheme was launched Tuesday to cover the lockdown.
Process: The money will be transferred to bank accounts of beneficiaries. About 5.97 lakh labourers, of the 20.37 lakh registered with the state, do not have bank accounts and officials have been instructed to help them.
The Urban Development Department has been asked to prepare a database in two weeks of an estimated 15,000 street vendors and rickshaw pullers to be included in the scheme for which Rs 235 crore will be utilised within March 31.
Andhra Pradesh – Rs 1,000 for daily wagers, auto & cab drivers
Benefit: Rs 1,000 per family during lockdown for BPL holders, daily wagers, autorickshaw and cab drivers, weavers, cobblers, construction workers, labourers, and others in the unorganised sector. Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan
Reddy said Rs 1,500 crore has been set aside for this package.
Process: Beneficiaries in these segments had been identified for schemes announced earlier by the YSRCP during the state poll campaign last year. The benefit will be delivered in cash within April 4 at doorsteps by village and ward volunteers, along with ration rice, 1-kg dal, oil and salt.
Gujarat – Free ration for 60 lakh families
Benefit: Free ration, including foodgrains, for daily wagers — about 60 lakh families consisting of 3.25 crore people — from April 1. Each person will get 3.5 kg of wheat and 1.5 kg of rice, and every family 1 kg each of sugar, dal and salt.
Process: Rations will be distributed through fair price shops that are part of the Public Distribution System. Rations have already been sent to at least 3,500 of the 17,000 fair price shops. The distribution will be carried out in a phased manner to prevent crowding at these shops.
Telangana – Rs 1,500 per family
Benefit: Rs 1,500 per family for white ration-card holders, BPL families, unorganised sector workers, etc. They will also get 12 kg of free rice instead of 6 kg for April. Telangana has set aside Rs 2,417 crore — Rs 1,103 crore for 3.36 lakh tonnes of rice and Rs 1,314 crore for the compensation.
Process: Based on white ration cards, and a ‘Comprehensive Household Survey’ conducted in 2014. The money will be credited directly in bank accounts of beneficiaries from March 30.
Rajasthan – Rs 1,000 for labourers, vendors
Benefit: Rs 1,000 each to 25 lakh construction workers and registered street vendors not covered under the social security pension scheme. The relief will be extended to 36.51 lakh BPL, state BPL and Antyodaya beneficiaries. The compensation is part of a Rs 2,000-crore relief package.
Process: Beneficiaries will be identified by district administrations and Social Justice Department, and payments done through Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) to bank accounts linked to Jan Aadhaar numbers.
Jammu & Kashmir – Rs 1,000 for construction workers
Benefit: Rs 1,000 each for 3.5 lakh people registered with the Building & Other Construction Workers Welfare Board for purchase of ration during the lockdown. All 2.26 lakh workers in the unorganised sector registered under the Employees’ State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) scheme will get relief, including wages.
Process: The beneficiaries will be identified by the Labour & Employment Department.
Uttarakhand – Rs 1,000 for vendors
Benefit: Rs 1,000 each for non-registered labourers, street-shop owners, fruit and vegetable vendors, and daily wagers. The government will utilise Rs 30 crore from the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund.
Process: District Magistrates and local labour officers will conduct surveys in each district to identify beneficiaries who receive the money, either through their bank accounts or in cash.
— (Compiled from ENS reports)
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