The Uttar Pradesh government on Friday announced a package of more than Rs 353 crore for giving cash handouts to estimated 3.53 million daily wage earners, including labourers, who are likely to be impacted owing to job losses following the coronavirus outbreak.
These beneficiaries, comprising about 2.03 million labourers registered with the labour department and 1.5 million rickshaw pullers, hawkers and kiosk owners, would be paid a lump sum of Rs 1,000 crore directly into their bank accounts.
Recently, a high-level committee headed by UP finance minister Suresh Khanna and also comprising the agriculture and labour ministers was constituted to analyse the situation and make a recommendation regarding the compensation to be paid to the poor and daily earners to insulate them against the economic impact of coronavirus.
UP chief minister Adityanath said those people facing loss of livelihood owing to the coronavirus, but excluded in any of the government or cash handout schemes, could get their names registered after getting the recommendation of the respective rural or urban local bodies administration.
“We have made the provision of providing a financial aid of Rs 1,000 to these beneficiaries and more support would be provided in the future if needed,” he said.
So far 23 coronavirus patients had been identified in UP, of which 9 had been successfully treated.
Meanwhile, the government has decided to provide advance free food grain for the months of April and May to more than 8.38 million widows, old age and handicap pensioners next month.
The 16.53 million beneficiaries enrolled under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MNREGS) and Antyodaya in UP would also be paid a month’s free food grain quota comprising 20 kg and 15 kg of wheat and rice respectively, he announced. The state would spend Rs 94.50 crore to this end.
The state government has urged the Centre to speedily devolve Rs 556 crore for payment to the works rendered under the MNREGS.
Besides, the government has advised the businesses, traders and business establishment owners, who are facing lockdown due to the coronavirus scare, not to deduct the wage of their employees during this time and provide them paid leave.
Adityanath appealed the traders against indulging in hoarding or food items and essential commodities, saying there was adequate stock of medicines, food grain and other essential items in the state and there was no reason for panic buying or hoarding.
“Currently, India is under the stage II (individual infection) of coronavirus and with the active cooperation of the people, we can prevent it from entering the stage III (community outbreak),” he noted.
The government has already ordered the closure of schools, colleges, clubs, gyms etc till April 2 to arrest the spread of the scourge and urged the masses to avoid non-essential movement and to exercise caution without panicking.
The CM appealed to the people to make ‘Janata Curfew’ as proposed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday. The state has announced the complete shutdown of metro rail, state roadways transport and city transport services tomorrow from 6 am to 10 pm in this regard.