The Karnataka government on Wednesday announced a Rs 1,610-crore financial package to give relief to those in distress during the coronavirus-induced lockdown, PTI reported. The package will benefit Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, farmers, handloom weavers, flower-growers, washermen, barbers and auto and taxi drivers, among others.
The government also increased excise duty by 11%, which is in addition to 6% announced in the budget.
Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa said people from all sections of society are facing financial difficulties because of the extended lockdown. The Centre announced a nationwide lockdown on March 25, and it has now been extended till May 17.
Over 60,000 washermen, 2.30 lakh barbers and 7.75 lakh auto-rickshaw and taxi drivers will get Rs 5,000 as a one-time compensation, according to the chief minister’s announcement. In addition to this, Rs 25,000 per hectare compensation will be given to flower growers. Flowers grown on 11,687 hectares have been destroyed due to the lockdown.
The fixed monthly charges on the electricity bills of MSMEs will also be waived for two months. Meanwhile, payment of fixed charges in the electricity bills of the large industries would be deferred without penalty and interest for a period of two months.
Yeddyurappa also said that the government is starting a new scheme, Weaver Samman Yojana, under which handloom weavers will get Rs 2,000 assistance. The money will be transferred to the bank accounts of about 54,000 weavers in the state.
Similarly, construction labourers will get an additional Rs 3,000. Around 11.80 lakh building workers have already been given Rs 2,000 and action has been initiated to transfer money to the remaining four lakh construction workers.
“The above compensation would be provided with an estimated cost of Rs 1,610.00 crore, which would help those who are in distress due to lockdown,” Yeddyurappa added.
He also said migrants workers have been asked to not to move to other states as construction work has resumed. The state government on Tuesday announced that no more trains will be run to ferry migrant workers stranded in the state to various destinations across the country.
Karnataka has 692 coronavirus cases after 19 more people tested positive, the state health department said on Wednesday.