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2.15 lakh auto, cab drivers got Covid financial aid so far: Govt tells Assembly

  On May 6 this year, Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa had announced a one-time Covid-19 relief of Rs  5,000 to Rs  7.75 lakh auto and cab drivers in the state.

Published: 25th September 2020 05:32 AM  |   Last Updated: 25th September 2020 05:32 AM   |  A+A-

Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa holds a meeting with Cooperative Societies Department officials along with all the Deputy CMs at  Vidhana Soudha | Nagaraja Gadekal

Express News Service

BENGALURU: On May 6 this year, Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa had announced a one-time Covid-19 relief of Rs  5,000 to Rs 7.75 lakh auto and cab drivers in the state. Four months down the line, only 2.15 lakh drivers have received the benefit, the government told the Assembly, leading to an Opposition onslaught on the discrepancies, delays and intent on the government. In the Appropriation bill, tabled and passed by the House on Thursday, the Karnataka Government has sought a supplementary budget of Rs  4,008 crore, of which the net outflow is Rs  3,473 crore. Of this, Rs  97.51 crore was the expenditure towards compensation for auto and cab drivers, barbers and washermen, the government said.

“We have received a total of 2,45,844 applications and money has been disbursed to 2,15,155 applicants. Around 30,000 are pending,” said Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister J C Madhuswamy. The discrepancies in the number of beneficiaries announced by the government and the actual number of people who have benefitted from the scheme became a topic of hot debate in the House. 

“On what basis did the government say 7.75 lakh drivers will benefit if only 2.15 lakh drivers have been given compensation?” asked Opposition leader Siddaramaiah. Other Opposition leaders like JDS’ Bandeppa Kashempur pointed out that the yardstick being applied to accept applications only benefitted owners and not drivers. 

They demanded that the government drop mandatory submission of badge numbers to issue compensation, a suggestion rejected by the government. Speaker Vishveshwara Hegde Kageri had to intervene and ask the government to hold talks with drivers’ unions so that more people are benefitted.

LOKAYUKTA PROBE NOW TIME-BOUND

Bengaluru: The functioning of anti-corruption agency Lokayukta came under scrutiny by members of the Legislative Council on Thursday, even as the House passed an amendment to the Lokayukta Act to fix a time-frame for completing the probe in cases registered with the agency. An amendment to the Act was earlier passed by the Assembly. As per the amendment, preliminary probes have to be completed within 3 months, and final inquiries within 6 months.

While the agency can seek additional time by giving reasons, the amendment is seen as an attempt to avoid delay in disposal of cases. JDS member Basavaraj Horatti said disposal of takes a long time, in many cases 8-10 years, and in some even 18 years. He sought to know what action can be taken if they did not complete the inquiry within the fixed time-frame. Law Minister JC Madhu Swamy said if the institution fails to do so, the aggrieved persons can approach court.



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