Rs 5,476-crore relief package to help those affected across sectors and certain categories
Geetanjali Minhas | April 14, 2021 | Mumbai
Striving to control the deadly second wave of Covid-19 infections, the Maharashtra government has imposed prohibition on the gathering of more than four people as well as night curfew from Wednesday till May 1.
Starting 8 pm Wednesday, Section 144 of CrPC (prohibition on the gathering of more than four people) and night curfew in the entire state will come into effect, till 7 am on May 1, putting restrictions on the movement of people at public places without valid reasons.
The order issued on Tuesday by the department of disaster management, relief and rehabilitation prohibits operation of all services, establishments, public places, and activities, specifying unrestricted movement and operations of only essential services. Movement of domestic helps, drivers, attendants etc to work in a locality will be based on and decided by local authorities.
In his address to the state Tuesday night, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray announced that Maharashtra was facing an emergency-like situation and strict restrictions will come into effect from 8 pm on April 14 for 15 days with a strict ‘Janta curfew’. He, however, did not impose a complete lockdown.
“Covid infections are exploding dangerously … I know bread and butter is important but saving lives is also important. War against coronavirus has begun again,” he said.
Appealing to the opposition parties and civil society to help the government overcome the crisis, Thackeray said, “This is not the time to do politics." He said people must voluntarily adopt work-from-home. He said restrictions are not one-sided and imposed to save lives allowing only essential travel and essential services. He also said that the state had to postponed Class 10 and 12 state board exams but cannot postpone “the exam it is currently facing”. “We have to pass this exam with flying colours," the CM said.
Thackeray announced a Rs 5,476-crore relief package for those who will be affected across sectors and certain categories.
Under the package government will supply 3 kg of wheat and 2 kg of rice per person free of cost for one month to beneficiaries of the Food Security Scheme by food, civil supplies and consumer protection department, social justice and special assistance department, industry-energy and labor department, urban development department and tribal development department.
Through “Shiv Bhojan Thali” scheme free of cost food will be given to people for one month with a target of 2 lakh thalis in a month. Every tribal family availing the benefits of the “khavati karj” (small loans for non-agricultural purposes) scheme will be provided Rs 2,000 will be given for one month. This will benefit 12 lakh tribal families.
The CM also said that funds have been allocated for various welfare schemes targeting 25 lakh domestic workers. Under the registered construction workers welfare scheme, 12 lakh registered construction workers will get a grant of Rs 1,500 each this month from the funds of Maharashtra building and other workers welfare board in addition to large fund allocation provided for various welfare assistance for 25 lakh domestic workers in the state. Rs 1,500 each will be given to 5 lakh licensed hawkers and 12 lakh auto rickshaw drivers.
About 35 lakh beneficiaries of pension schemes (Sanjay Gandhi Niradhar Yojana, Shravanbal, and centrally sponsored Indira Gandhi National Old Age Retirement Scheme, Indira Gandhi National Widow Retirement Scheme, Indira Gandhi National Disability Retirement Scheme), Rs 1,000 will be given for two months.
Provision of Rs. 3,300 crore has been made to be allocated at district level during the lockout periods will be given to concerned districts for medical treatment, equipment, facility building and other arrangements for management of Covid-19.
Besides interest waiver has been allowed on dues and taxes payable to local bodies, state govt and other govt bodies for the months of April and May.
Thackeray said that with the shortage of medical oxygen, beds and the demand for Remdesivir has also increased. He requested the centre to provide military help in tackling oxygen and medicine shortage in the state and said that he was seeking permission from the centre to transport oxygen from other states through IAF to avoid delay. “We are using oxygen stocks to the hilt. Looking at the condition I told prime minister Narendra Modi in the coming days we will need oxygen… efforts are on to ensure the required supply of Remdesivir from drug manufacturers across the country,” he said.
He also said that the centre should extend by another three months the March deadline for filing GST for small and medium enterprises.
With half of India’s Covid-19 burden, Maharashtra is recording over 50,000 new cases daily and now has 5.64 lakh active cases. The state has been complaining of vaccine shortage and has repeatedly requested the centre to increase the vaccine allocation to the state. The state now has double mutant strains in 61% of tested samples. As per The National Institute of Virology, Pune data, laboratories in Maharashtra show that 220 out of the 361 (61%) Covid-19 samples with genome sequencing between January to March have had double mutation, E484Q and L452R now classified as B.1.617 lineage.
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