THE BJP government in Karnataka on Wednesday announced a Rs 1,610 crore relief package for various sections of workers in the state hit by losses in income during the ongoing lockdown to prevent the spread of Covid-19. This includes direct benefit transfer of Rs 3,000 each to 15.80 lakh registered construction workers in the state.
“People from all sections of society are facing financial difficulties due to the lockdown of more than 45 days. The compensation and benefit package estimated to cost Rs 1,610 crore will help people who are in distress,” Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa said.
Apart from construction workers the package will cover those who grow flowers, dhobis, barbers, autorickshaw and cab drivers, weavers and industries.
“Lack of demand for their produce has affected flower growers. It is estimated that farmers cultivated flowers on about 11,687 hectares. The government has decided to announce compensation of Rs 25,000 per hectare, limited to the maximum extent of one hectare, for flower growers who have suffered crop loss,” the CM said.
A separate relief package would soon be announced for fruit and vegetable farmers who have realised good crops but found difficulty in achieving sales, he said.
“Covid-19 has also affected barbers and washermen, both in urban and rural areas. The government has decided to provide one-time compensation of Rs 5,000 each to benefit about 60,000 washermen and about 2,30,000 barbers,” the Karnataka CM said.
A similar compensation of Rs 5,000 was announced for 7.75 lakh autorickshaw and cab drivers.
Under a new scheme called the Weaver Samman Yojana, the state government will deposit Rs 2,000 each into the bank accounts of 54,000 handloom weavers and will also release Rs 80 crore for a Rs 109 crore loan scheme for weavers announced earlier. “The lock down has caused miseries to weavers who were already suffering due to the slowdown in their industry,” Yediyurappa said.
For the 15.80 lakh registered construction workers in the state, the government will top up a Rs 2,000 compensation awarded earlier with an additional Rs 3,000 each, the CM said. “The government has already transferred Rs 2,000 to bank accounts of 11.80 lakh building workers through DBT. Action has already been initiated to transfer Rs 2,000 to the remaining four lakh workers soon after verifying their account details. In addition to this, the government has decided to transfer an additional amount of Rs 3,000 to building workers.”
To help medium, small and large industries revive themselves, the Yediyurappa government has decided to grant concessions in payments of electricity bills, with fixed charges waived off for two months for MSMEs and large industries. “Opportunity will be provided for the payment of the balance bill amount in installments. Electricity connection will not be disconnected till 30-06-2020 for the consumers who have not paid the balance amount of electricity bill,” Yediyurappa said.
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