The Kerala government has announced a Rs 20,000-crore financial package for the state to tide over the present crisis being faced by the southern state in the wake of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. This includes Rs 14,000 crore to clear all arrears pending in various sectors and a Rs 500-crore health package.
On Thursday, the state has reported one more positive case, taking the total confirmed COVID-19 cases to 28, of which 25 patients are under treatment, said state Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.
“The state is facing a huge crisis and normal life has been affected. This has impacted the economy. The financial package is expected to revive the economy,” said Vijayan in Thiruvananthapuram on Thursday after a review meeting with the health minister and other officials. He said the fund has to come from the state government and there won’t be any problem in finding the fund.
The plan covers health package, loan assistance, welfare pension, MNREGS, free foodgrain, subsidised meals, tax relief, and arrear clearance. The state government will facilitate Rs 2,000 crore loans through self-help group Kudumbashree in the nature of a consumer loan to those impacted by COVID-19. Another Rs 2,000 crore will be distributed as village employment assurance programme for April and May.
Social welfare pension, due in April, will be distributed in March. For the two-month pension, it is expected to be around Rs 1,320 crore. The state government’s plans to launch restaurants will be fast-tracked and meals will be offered at Rs 20 instead of Rs 25.
The state government has also held discussions with defence and paramilitary forces, to ensure their support in case of emergency and they have assured support, including access to their health care centres, Army barracks and helicopters as and when required, he added.