The package includes funds to clear various dues the government owes individuals and institutions, ₹2,000 crore in consumer loans, ₹1,320 crore to disburse two months’ welfare pension in advance, and a health package of ₹500 crore
The Kerala state government on Thursday announced a ₹20,000 crore economic package to deal with the outbreak of the coronavirus.
The relief package comes even as state chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan confirmed a fresh Covid-19 case in the state, taking the total number of confirmed cases to 25.
The package includes funds to clear various dues the government owes individuals and institutions, ₹2,000 crore in consumer loans, ₹1,320 crore to disburse two months’ welfare pension in advance, and a health package of ₹500 crore, Vijayan said.
The CM added that ₹2,000 crore out of the total will be used to provide more rural jobs under the employment guarantee programme and that another ₹100 crore will be used for free ration for all of this month. A full breakup of the package is still unclear.
“There is a possibility of the situation getting worse. So, we are planning for the worst-case scenario," said a person who worked closely with the chief minister on the package, requesting not to be named.
Kerala had announced a consumer loan scheme following last year’s floods that was disbursed through the state’s million-strong women’s self-help group—Kudumbashree.
The early disbursal of the social security pension is to put money into people’s hands when commercial activity in the state is partially paralysed because of the coronavirus scare, Vijayan said.
The package will deliver March and April pensions this month itself.
Some families below the poverty line, and some who belong to the Antyodaya schemes that aid the financially downtrodden, will be given ₹1,000 as a direct handout for subsistence, at the total cost ₹100 crore for the state exchequer, Vijayan said.
Everyone will be given free foodgrain up to 10kg through ration shops, that was otherwise supplied using above-and-below poverty-line characteristics, the chief minister added.