Assam govt. might roll out relief package for more than 4.5 million needy families during lockdown period
The Assam government declared lockdown in the state from Tuesday 6 PM until March 31, however after the country wide lockdown for a period of 21 days was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the date of lockdown might be further extended by 10 to 15 days.
During the state Legislative Assembly on Tuesday, Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma informed the house that the government of Assam might release financial assistance to nearly 4.5 million needy families during the lockdown period.
Sarma said that in case of a dire necessity the legislative assembly would sit and amend the recently passed annual budget of the state to make provisions in order to provide financial assistance.
In the assembly, Sarma spoke about the issues of the lockdown and the problems that could be faced during the lockdown period by daily wage earners or laborers and tea garden workers who earn weekly. He also threw light on the diseases such as Japanese Encephalitis which begin during the month of April and has higher mortality rate than COVID-19. The state will also face flood as the monsoon season begins and most of the embankments are under repair.
The finance minister has appealed everyone to pray for the best and prepare for the worst.
He said that the state can pull through until March 31 but if the lockdown prolongs drastic measures will be taken and the state budget will be amended to make provisions.
Sarma said that they would target the population of Assam. The government has data of bank accounts of 2.7 lakh labourers, 8 lakh tea garden workers for whom the government has opened the bank accounts.
Under the Ujwala Scheme the government has data of over 34 lakh account holders to whom the LPG subsidy is reimbursed which is their biggest weapon, said Sarma.
Sarma informed that the free rice for the BPL familes which was promised in the state budget will be delivered to people at their doorsteps from April 1.
The finance minister stated, “we have arrived in a crisis situation.” The Bihu celebration has been suspended amid the novel coronavirus outbreak which impact the artistes. Tourism at Kaziranga has been closed off and those who are associated with the tourism sector are also heavily impacted.
An economic plan will soon be announced, said finance minister, Sarma on Monday, which would maneuver the state and the people during the lockdown period.