The BJP government in Karnataka on Wednesday announced a Rs 1,250 crore relief package to various sectors, especially the poor, to tide over the Covid-19 crisis.
Under the relief package, the government plans to disburse Rs 3,000 each for auto and taxi drivers and construction workers and Rs 2,000 for workers in the unorganised sector. The government has also announced Rs 10,000 per hectare for floriculture farmers.
The government has also extended the deadline for the repayment of loans for farmers till July 31, 2021. Under the relief package, the BS Yediyurappa government would give Rs 2,000 for roadside and street vendors who have been registered under the Atma Nirbhar scheme. This will benefit a total of 2.2 lakh people.
Under the Kannada and Culture Department, artistes and artiste groups will be given Rs 3,000 each, and the amount will be disbursed to 16,095 beneficiaries.
The announcement also said that under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana, the state government will be distributing five kg rice for free to people below the poverty line in May and June.
Free lunch will be provided in Indira Canteens in the urban areas for the workers by the Department of Urban Development. The government estimates that this will benefit more than six lakh beneficiaries across the state.
The official note added that the government spent around Rs 956 crore for treating those infected with Covid-19 so far. It has allocated Rs 1,000 crore to procure three crore doses of the Covid-19 vaccine to inoculate those between the ages of 18 and 44.
Row over hosp bed reservation
Karnataka Health Minister Dr K Sudhakar stirred a controversy on Wednesday by issuing an order reserving 15 per cent beds in three hospitals in Bengaluru exclusively for people from his constituency of Chickaballapur.
According to India Today TV, these beds would be given to Covid patients from the minister’s constituency.
The Congress has slammed the move saying that such reservation is illegal and would deny beds to the needy at a time of emergency.
Congress MLA Krishna Byre Gowda said that the Health Minister has put his constituency above the needs of the people of Karnataka.
The Health Minister refused to comment on the issue.
However, the India Today report did not produce the controversial order.
In a Covid-related development, the police in Karnataka Wednesday filed a case against a doctor who refused to wear a face mask while shopping at a mall in Mangaluru.
Dr Srinivas Kakkilaya called the mask rule as "foolish" and entered into a bitter battle of words with the store manager.
The case was filed under the Pandemic Act after a written complaint from the manager, who said the doctor's actions had put himself, his employees and other customers at risk.
Meanwhile, Karnataka recorded 34,281 new Covid cases Wednesday, taking the total positive case number to 23,06,655. The state also recorded 468 deaths, taking the total to 23,306.