Covid-19: With 25 Cases And Preparing For More, Kerala Government Announces Rs 20,000 Crore Relief Package For State
Out of the total amount, Rs 2,000 crore will be disbursed as consumer loans.
The Kerala Government has come out with a Rs 20,000 crore relief package to help revive the State economy affected by the outbreak of Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
Announcing the relief package at a press conference, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said: “We are passing through a grave crisis and ordinary life has been affected by the Coronavirus outbreak.”
The Kerala Government’s relief package is aimed at reviving demand with Rs 2,000 crore being disbursed as consumer loans.
The loans will be made available through Kudumbashree, a poverty eradication and women empowerment programme of the State Poverty Eradication Mission (SPEM) in Kerala. This will ensure that the poor women will have a major say on how the loans availed of by them will be utilised.
The State Government will spend Rs 2,000 crore - Rs 1,000 crore each in April and May - of the relief package for the rural employment Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme.
The Left Democratic Front Government, led by the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPM), holds the view that since people have resorted to social distancing, many of the poor would not be able to go for any job.
Thus, this allocation will help them overcome the period of unemployment.
The State Government will also distribute two months social security pension for April and May at one go totalling Rs 1,320 crore. Families which are not eligible for these pensions will get Rs 1,000 each a month.
At least 50 lakh families are expected to benefit from this package. Besides, ration, including 10 kg rice, will be supplied free of cost to both below poverty and above poverty line people.
Kerala has run up a public debt of Rs 2.5 lakh crore so far and the State Finance Department has imposed restrictions on the treasury in clearing pending bills in view of the precarious financial situation.
The CPM-led government has not spelt out how it will manage resources for the relief package.
With one more person testing positive for the pandemic virus on Thursday (19 March), a total of 25 persons have been affected by the outbreak till now.
The person testing positive in Kerala, where no Covid-19 cases were reported for 48 hours, is from Kasaragod district and had returned from Dubai.
So far, 25 persons have tested positive for Covid-19, while nearly 32,000 persons are under surveillance by the State government for symptoms of the pandemic.
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