File photo of people wearing masks as a precaution against the coronavirus outside a hospital in Thrissur, Kerala.
File photo of people wearing masks as a precaution against the coronavirus outside a hospital in Thrissur, Kerala. |IANS
National

New COVID-19 case in Kerala, Rs 20K crore stimulus package announced

IANS

Thiruvananthapuram, March 19, 2020

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Thursday said that a fresh coronavirus case has been reported from Kasargode, taking the state's total to 25.

He also announced that Rs 20,000 crore will be pumped into the state economy, which has been badly hit and the government has decided to extend help to see that it does not fall further.

"Rs 2,000 crore would be given to the Kudumbhashree (women empowerment programme) who will give out small loans to the needy. Rs 1,000 crore each would be given in months of April and May for the National Rural Employment Guarantee scheme," he said.

Apart from these, the proposed package will include a Rs 500 crore health package besides the social security pension to be paid in advance in April, entailing an expenditure of Rs 1,320 crore.

"One month's free ration will be provided to all. Tax reliefs are there for auto rickshaws and taxis besides stage and contract carriers also. The bills for electricity and water also will have a one-month relief and can be paid without fine. Film theatres will get a reduction in entertainment tax," Vijayan said.

He also thanked the defence and paramilitary forces who have extended all support to help the state government in case an emergency arises.

As Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala on Thursday expressed his concern that when the UGC and the national boards have postponed all the examinations, in Kerala, the university and the state board examinations to Class 10,11, 12 are yet to be postponed, Vijayan said: "The reason why we have decided to go ahead with the examination is there is a fool proof system that is in place and hence we did not want to postpone it."

While asking for caution to be maintained to contain the disease's spread, he urged the citizens to see that normal life should not be contained.

In a related move, the welfare board of tailoring employees had asked all its members to see that in a week they should stitch five lakh cloth masks and hand them over to the state government.

IANS

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