Arvind Kejriwal announces free rations for card holders, aid for taxi, auto drivers in Delhi
Announcing a repeat of two key measures taken by the Delhi government during lockdown last year, chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday said that the state will once again provide free ration for two months to ration card holders and also give financial aid of Rs.5,000 to autorickshaw and taxi drivers in the city, while adding that the announcements do not mean that the curbs will remain in place for the next two months.
Addressing a digital press conference, Kejriwal said the free ration scheme will benefit around 7.2 million ration card holders and the financial assistance will help around 156,000 autorickshaw and taxi drivers.
“To deal with coronavirus, we have imposed a lockdown in Delhi. This was essential to curtail the number of cases and to break the chain. Any lockdown creates a financial crisis for people, especially for the poor. It hits the daily wage workers particularly hard, following which it becomes difficult for them to run their homes,” he said.
“Today, we have taken two major decisions. Firstly, free ration will be provided to the around 72 lakh ration card holders of Delhi for the next two months to help the poor wade through their financial crisis. Having said that, one should not assume that the lockdown will continue for the next two months. Let us hope that the cases begin to decrease and the lockdown is lifted early,” he said.
Kejriwal said the second decision is to provide all registered autorickshaw and taxi drivers in the city as monetary aid of Rs.5,000 each.
“All autorickshaw drivers and taxi drivers are seeing some tough times, as their homes would run on their daily wages. Some do not have much savings too, and with the lockdown of the past few weeks, their daily earnings have depleted completely. Just as last year, when the lockdown was imposed, all of Delhi’s auto and taxi drivers were given Rs.5,000 each by the Delhi government. Today, we’re extending the same financial assistance to all the auto and taxi drivers to help them during this financial adversity,” he said.
The national capital has been locked down since April 20 due to an unforeseen surge in Covid-19 cases, and the curbs has been extended twice with cases continued to remain near or above the 20,000 mark.
The lockdown, the chief minister said during the announcement on April 19, would help the state government bolster the city’s health care infrastructure, which has been under severe pressure due to the increase in infections requiring hospitalisation. Even after the curbs, hospital beds, medical oxygen and space at funeral homes have been hard to come by for residents of the Capital.
The Delhi government on April 20 announced it will resume its scheme of giving Rs.5,000 financial aid to those registered with the Delhi building and other construction workers welfare board (DBOCWW).
He also appealed to all political parties to unite and work together to help people as Delhi reels under a raging fourth wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We are undergoing a very difficult period and the second wave in the country has been extremely dangerous. There is so much sadness everywhere, people are troubled and are falling ill all across. It is my earnest request that this is the time to help each other, this is the time to become a good human being. Everyone, irrespective of the party they belong to, be it the BJP or the Congress or the Aam Aadmi Party, everyone should together help each other. This is not the time for politics, everyone should work together. Be it any religion or caste, this disease does not discriminate. Be it the rich or the poor, everyone should help each other,” he said.