THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Entrepreneurs in the motor vehicle sector will be given low-interest working capital loans to resume operations after the lockdown, Finance Minister KN Balagopal has said. The loan scheme will be similar to the one announced for traders earlier.Loans up to a maximum of Rs 2 lakh will be given, with government bearing 4% of the interest. The tax exemption for all stage carriers and contract carriers will continue for the April-June quarter, the minister said.
A bonus of Rs 1,000 will be given to the employment guarantee scheme workers who have completed 75 days of work in the year. The minister said the government’s special supply of Covid vaccine to private hospitals will help achieve universal immunisation at the earliest. A total of Rs 120 crore has been sanctioned to the Kerala Medical Services Corporation to buy 20 lakh doses for distribution through private hospitals.
“At present, only big private hospitals can afford to purchase vaccine. The government will buy vaccines from the paid pool of the manufacturer and distribute them through small and medium private hospitals in the rural areas. Mass vaccination drives using CSR funds will also be facilitated,” he said.
In the absence of adequate assistance from the central government, the state is struggling to roll out Covid relief measures. Still, three types of direct benefit transfer --- in cash, kind and revenue forgone --- are being done. Studies before the second wave had shown that the Covid-induced GSDP loss was 1.35 lakh crore and drop in government revenue was Rs 133,000 crore.Absence of welfare boards or any other distribution mechanism stands in the way of relief distribution to workers in various sectors like the hotel industry, he said.