BENGALURU: To address financial difficulties faced by farmers, weavers, unorganised sector workers, MSMEs etc during COVID-19 lockdown the Karnataka government on Wednesday announced an economic relief package of Rs 1,610 crores.
Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa also announced a new scheme to provide financial assistance to weavers on the lines of PM Kisan Samman Yojana.
What's in the package
Under the Rs 1610 crore relief package, farmers cultivating flowers, who incurred crop losses due to lack of demand during the lockdown period, will be paid compensation of Rs 25,000 per hectare with a cap of one hectare. A separate relief package will be announced for farmers who grew fruits and vegetables and faced crop loss due to shortage in demand and inability to transport produce.
One-time compensation of Rs 5000 will be given to unorganised sector workers like barbers, washermen, cab drivers and auto drivers who have lost their livelihoods due to lockdown. Around 2.3 lakh barbers, 60000 washermen, 7.75 lakh auto and cab drivers are expected to benefit out of the package.
"MSMEs have also suffered huge production losses due to lockdown. It takes some time for them to revive. Hence the government has decided to come to rescue of MSMEs. The monthly fixed charges of electricity bills of MSMEs will be waived for two months. Payment of fixed charges in the Electricity bills of the large industries will be deferred without penalty and interest for a period of two months," said Yediyurappa.
Citizens who pay bills on time have been given concessions and incentives in electricity bills under the relief package too. "There will be reduction in the interest on the amount for the delayed payment. Incentive will be provided to consumers who pay bills in advance," the Chief Minister said.
"Opportunity will be provided for the payment of balance bill amount in installments. Electricity connection will not be disconnected till 30-06-2020 for the consumers, who have not paid the balance amount of electricity bill," he added.
The state government also announced a new scheme for weavers in addition to the Rs 109 crore weaver loan waiver scheme announced in budget 2020-2021. Under the new 'Nekarara Sammana Yojane' some 54,000 handloom weavers will receive Rs 2000 as DBT into their bank accounts.
This apart the state government has announced additional relief of Rs 3000 per person to registered construction workers. Karnataka had already announced transfer of Rs 2000 to labourers but now an additional Rs 3000 has been added to their benefit. 15.80 lakh building workers are expected to benefit out of this announcement.