Kerala Announces Rs 20,000 Crore Package To Tackle Coronavirus Outbreak
Funds for easy loans, free ration, a health package and employment guarantees are all proposed in the package.
The Left government in Kerala announced a Rs 20,000 crore package as one more person tested positive for coronavirus on Thursday, taking the total number of cases to 25 in the state.
The multi-crore special provisioning includes a Rs 500 crore health package and Rs 2,000 crore worth loans and free ration. Detailing the financial package, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said loans worth Rs 2,000 crore would be made available to needy families through the all-women network ‘Kudumbashree’ during April-May.
Rural employment guarantee programmes worth Rs 1,000 crore each will be implemented in April-May, he said.
Social security pension of Rs 1,320 crore, to be given in April, would be distributed this month, he said, adding that 50 lakh people are benefited through the pension scheme. Those belonging to the below poverty line and Anthyodaya, who are not receiving social security pension, would be given Rs 1,000 each, for which Rs 100 crore would be earmarked.
Ten kilograms worth of free ration would be given to families and Rs 100 crore would be set apart for the purpose, he said.
A string of 1,000 low-cost hotels, providing food at Rs 20, would be opened across the state next month, the chief minister added.
The 'fitness' charges of autorickshaws and taxis and one month tax of stage and contract carriages would be waived, Vijayan said.
Consumers would be given a month to clear their electricity and water bills and film theatres would get an entertainment tax waiver.
Vijayan said he had held a meeting of various defence heads in the state here and they have promised all help. They have promised the services of their hospitals, doctors, paramedical staff and barracks and ambulances for coronavirus care.
Helicopter services would also be provided to the state for transporting medicines, sick people and food at various places in case of emergency.
Asked about the several Keralites being stranded in Italy, he said "Our effort is to bring all of them back to the state."
The chief minister also asked people to stay away from the Bharani festival at Kodungalloor on Friday which normally sees a heavy turnout of devotees from all over the state.
The Southern Railway has cancelled five long distance and eight passenger trains due to poor turnout of people following the coronavirus outbreak.
Meanwhile, the Kerala High Court on Thursday directed banks, financial institutions and Income Tax authorities to defer recovery proceedings till April 4.
Authorities dealing with GST, recovery of tax on motor vehicles and building tax have also been asked to stall recovery proceedings till April 4, Justice Amit Rawal said in his order.
Recovery cases were piling up in the court on a daily basis and today itself 80 such cases had come up, the judge said.