All 15 Haryana dists locked down, financial support announced for the poor
The Haryana government on Monday ordered a complete lockdown of the state, shutting down 15 districts in addition to the seven that were locked down on Sunday.
Speaking to journalists on conference call on Tuesday, chief minister (CM) Manohar Lal Khattar said Haryana’s interstate borders will remain sealed till March 31 to contain the spread of coronavirus disease (Covid-19). Khattar also announced measures to render financial support to daily earners and the poor in the unorganised sectors, who may not have means of earning a livelihood during the lockdown.
The CM said all public transport services will remain shut during the period but transportation to and from hospitals, airports, railway stations, bus terminals/bus stands and for the purpose of essential services will be exempted from restrictions. All interstate bus services will remain suspended during the period and assembly of more than five persons will not be allowed in public places.
Essential services such as police, health, power, emergency transport, supply of milk, food items and medicines will continue. All non-essential shops, commercial establishments, offices and factories, workshops and godowns will shut operations.
Monetary support to the poor
Announcing financial assistance to the poor working in the unorganised sector, the CM said those making a living through daily wages — labourers, street vendors and rickshaw pullers — will be provided an assistance of ₹1,000 per week.
“They will have to register with the deputy commissioner on a portal setup by March 27. All those found eligible will get financial assistance directly in their bank accounts,’’ the CM said. All below the poverty line (BPL) families and those registered with the Haryana Board of Construction Workers shall be provided a sum of ₹4,500 per month each on weekly basis starting March 30. The sum will directly be deposited into their bank accounts. The BPL families will be provided monthly rations for April free of cost. This will include rice or wheat as per their entitlement, mustard oil and 1kg sugar.
Around 12.38 lakh families registered under the Mukhyamantri Parivar Samriddhi Yojana (MMPSY) will get a balance amount of ₹2,000 per family before March 31. They will get ₹6,000 in April.
All those enrolled in government schools and all children in anganwadis shall be provided dry rations for the period the schools and anganwadis are closed.
COVID relief fund
Khattar said Haryana Corona Relief Fund will be setup to provide assistance to all those who are economically affected by the present situation. The fund shall invite contributions from all those who are capable of supporting the economically weak sections.
The chief minister has announced an initial contribution of ₹5 lakh from his personal savings towards the fund. All MLAs will contribute a month’s salary to it. “IAS, IPS, and IFS officers shall contribute 20% of their salary to the fund as an initial contribution. Contributions are also being made by all government employees other than Group D employees. Voluntary contribution from any organisation or person from Haryana, India or abroad and corporate social responsibility contribution from any industry or business are also invited,” he said.
State to bear the cost of treatment
The CM said treatment costs for all coronavirus positive patients requiring hospitalisation will be borne by the state government irrespective of whether the treatment is in a private or government hospital. “We are also planning to set up special Covid hospitals to beef up our capacity. Also, 140 more ventilators are being purchased,’’ the CM said.
All health workers and frontline workers involved in combating the pandemic shall be provided an accident insurance of ₹10 lakh in case of a death.
Khattar said the government will ensure that all contractual workers with the government receive their wages even if they were unable to work during the lockdown period. “I also request industries and commercial establishments not to retrench or remove any employee for their absence during the period of lockdown,’’ the CM said.
Exemptions for late bill payments, taxes
He also said that in case any domestic, commercial or small industrial consumer is unable to pay their electricity bills in time, then no surcharge or interest on delayed payment shall be charged till April 15. Similarly, in case of delay in payment of water or sewerage bills by the due date, no surcharge or interest shall be charged till April 15.
The due date of all taxes under the Haryana Motor Vehicle Taxation Act will be extended by a month to April 30. Stage and contract carriage vehicles will be given 100% exemption from the motor vehicle taxation for the period they are not allowed to ply in view of the lockdown. No penalty will be charged for any delay for the vehicles which become due for renewal/passing from March 15 to April 30.
The CM said that a special package for agriculture and farmers will be announce by the government by March 28.
Officials said the financial support being given for mitigating the hardship of economically weaker sections on account of corona virus lockdown is ₹1400 crores. Of this, ₹1,000 crore will come from the budget, ₹200 crores will come from the construction workers welfare board and ₹200 crore will come from salaries of legislators, officers and employees ( which will go to the Corona Relief Fund). This does not include the expenditure incurred on medical and health care activities and does not take into account the deferment of various payments of bills and interest waivers.
What comprise essential services
Electricity, water, sewerage and municipal services, banks and ATMs, print, electronic and social media, telecom and internet services, postal services, supply chain and related transportation; manufacturing units engaged in production of essential commodities, agriculture commodities and agriculture inputs, food items; wholesalers, retailers of such items; e-commerce (delivery) of all essential goods including food, pharmaceutical and medical equipment, groceries, milk, bread, fruit, vegetables, meat, fish, flour and their transportation-related activities; hospitals, chemist shops, optical stores, pharmaceuticals manufacturing units including mask and sanitisation material manufacturing units and their transportation-related activities; petrol pumps, LPG agencies, oil agencies, and their transportation-related activities.
Also, production and manufacturing units which require continuous process may continue, subject to such restrictions (including transportation), as imposed by the deputy commissioner concerned. Private establishments that support the above services or are linked to the efforts for containment of Covid-19 will also remain open.