Coronavirus: Karnataka govt announces Rs 1,610 Cr relief package
The Karnataka government on Wednesday announced a Rs 1,610 crore relief package for the benefit of those in distress due to the COVID-19-induced lockdown.
The measures announced by the Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa would bring relief to farmers, flower-growers, washermen, auto-rickshaw and taxi drivers, MSMEs, large industries, weavers, building workers and barbers.
The government also announced a 11 percent excise duty hike, which is in addition to the six percent announced in the budget.
People from all sections of society are facing financial difficulties due to lockdown of more than one and a half months, the Chief Minister noted.
Flower growers have destroyed their flowers following a lack of demand for their produce due to the lockdown. It is estimated that farmers cultivated flowers in about 11,687 hectares.
Realising the problems facing flower growers, the government announced a compensation of Rs 25,000 per hectare, limited to a maximum extent of one hectare for the crop loss.
Farmers who grew vegetables and fruits were not able to market their produce either, and the government has decided to announce a relief package for them as well.
In addition, COVID-19 has affected service professionals such as barbers and washermen (dhobis) both in urban and rural areas, and it has been decided to provide a one time compensation of Rs 5,000, each, to about 60,000 washermen, and about 2.3 lakh barbers, the government said. Nearly 7.8 lakh auto & taxi drivers in the state will be given Rs 5,000 each.
For MSMEs that suffered huge production losses due to the lockdown, the government said it will waive their monthly fixed charges of electricity bills, for two months.
Payment of fixed charges in the electricity bills for large industries would be deferred without penalty and interest for a period of two months.
For weavers, the state government had already announced a Rs 109 crore loan waiver scheme, of which Rs 29 crore has been released during 2019-20. The balance amount of Rs 80 crore would be released immediately, so that weavers can access fresh loans to continue working, the government said.
Distressed weaves will receive Rs 2,000 directly in their bank accounts as part of the new Weaver Samman Yojana (Nekarara Sammana yojane) scheme, the Chief Minister announced. The initiative is expected to benefit about 54,000 handloom weavers in the state.
Of the 15.80 lakh registered construction workers in the state, around 11.80 lakh have already received Rs 2,000 in their bank accounts from the government. The rest will receive compensations as soon as their bank details are verified, the government said.
The government has decided to transfer an additional Rs 3,000 to building workers through DBT.
The above compensation would be provided with an estimated cost of Rs 1,610 crore, which would help those who are in distress due to lockdown, Karnataka's Chief Minister added.