Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Tuesday announced a 15-day ‘Janata Curfew’ by imposing stringent restrictions beginning from 8 pm on April 14 till 7 am on May 1. In order to avoid crowding, the government has also invoked Section 144 to ban assemblies of more than five people across the state. However, essential activities, including travel and services, are allowed.
Besides, in a bid to provide much-needed relief during the ‘Janata Curfew’, Uddhav Thackeray announced a financial package of Rs 5,476 crore for the economically weaker sections, including families below the poverty line, women, the aged, widows, the physically challenged, the unorganised sector, rickshaw drivers, tribals, etc.
Who gets what from the financial package?
1. The government has earmarked Rs 3,300 crore exclusively for the upgradation, strengthening, expanding and optimising the existing health infrastructure, which is currently under tremendous pressure because of the sharp rise in COVID-19 patients. The government proposes to add more beds, including oxygen beds and ICU beds, ventilators, step up oxygen supply and procure medicines including Remdesivir, demand for which is likely to increase to 1 lakh from the present 50,000 per day.
2. Under its flagship Shiv Bhojan scheme, the government will provide free lunches for a month. About two lakh plates will be served free daily from such centres.
3. The government will also provide 3 kg of wheat and 2 kg of rice free for a month to the seven crore beneficiaries covered under the National Food Security Act.
4. Under the various pension and assistance schemes, including the Sanjay Gandhi Niradhar Yojana, Shravanbal and Central schemes for widows, senior citizens and disabled, about 35 lakh beneficiaries will be given Rs 1,000 each for two months in advance.
5. Around 12 lakh construction workers registered with the Maharashtra Building and Other Construction Workers’ Welfare Board will be given Rs 1,500 each.
6. The government will also provide Rs 1,500 each to around five lakh vendors and it will be directly transferred to their bank accounts.
7. Around 12 lakh autorickshaw drivers will be given Rs 1,500 each.
8. Nearly 12 lakh tribal families will be provided Rs 2,000 each, under the Khavti scheme.