On Wednesday, Karnataka chief minister B S Yediyurappa announced a Rs 1,610-crore relief package to help those affected by the COVID-19 outbreak in various sectors including farmers, flower-growers, washermen, auto-rickshaw and taxi drivers, MSMEs, large industries, weavers, building workers and barbers.
The government also announced a 11 percent excise duty hike on liquor or alcohol sold in the state, which is in addition to the six percent announced in the budget. The decision comes after the state made a record sale of Rs 197 crore on the second day on liquor shops being allowed to open amid the lockdown.
The Rs 1,600 crore relief package includes:
- Flower growers will receive one-time compensation of Rs 25,000 per hectare limited to a maximum extent of one hectare for the crop loss. It is estimated that farmers cultivated flowers on 11,687 hectares of land.
- Similar package to be announced for growers of vegetables and fruits.
- Service professionals which include about 60,000 washermen and about 2,30,000 barbers both in urban and rural areas to receive one-time compensation of Rs 5,000 each.
- 7,75,000 auto-rickshaw and taxi drivers to receive one-time compensation of Rs 5,000 each.
- MSMEs' monthly fixed charges of electricity bills to be waived off for two months.
- Monthly fixed charges in the electricity bills of the large industries would be deferred without penalty and interest for a period of two months.
- The state government has already announced Rs 109 crore loan waiver scheme for weavers of which Rs 29 crore was been released during 2019-20, the CM said. Balance amount of Rs 80 crore would be released immediately.
- A new scheme called Nekarara Sammana Yojane (Weaver Samman Yojana) was announced wherein Karnataka government would deposit Rs 2,000 directly into the bank accounts of the handloom weavers through DBT (direct benefit transfer). It is expected to benefit about 54,000 handloom weavers in the state.
- Yediyurappa said that the state government has already transferred Rs 2,000 to the bank account of 11.80 lakh building workers. Action has been initiated towards the remaining four lakh registered construction workers as well after verifying beneficiaries bank account details.
- Karnataka government will also transfer an additional amount of Rs 3,000 to building workers through DBT.