In a bid to aid its citizens in the fight against the novel coronavirus, Jammu and Kashmir Administrative Council has approved a relief package worth Rs 350 crore for those facing hardships due to the lockdown imposed to curb COVID-19 spread. Announcing the monetary assistance, Rohit Kansal, Principal Secretary, Planning and Information, J&K, said that the council has approved the massive relief package for 8 categories of people.
Kansal, who is also the J&K government spokesperson, stated that financial aid will be provided to almost 1.8 lakh construction workers, over 5000 houseboat workers and shikarawalas, 27,000 tourist guides, porters and other workers registered with tourism department and more than 800 flower growers and street vendors working at Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board, Shri Amarnath Ji Shrine Board.
Further, Kansal notified that the amount for the first month has already been given to the workers whose livelihoods were severely impacted amid the COVID-19 crisis.
5/7 Govt has approved a Rs350 cr.relief package for people affected due to #COVID19 lockdown.They include 1.76lac const workers,5791 Houseboat & shikarawalas, 27000 tourist guides/ponywalas/palkiwalas/pithuwalas, 850 flower growers& street vendors registered with SMC/JMC. pic.twitter.com/eOhtjyIPoL— DIPR-J&K (@diprjk) April 30, 2020
Massive relief for small-time entrepreneurs in J&K
The Administrative Council has also decided to extend a helping hand to 30,000 self-help groups under UMEED by paying them Rs 25,000 upfront and Rs 75,000 later. Besides, a relief fund has also been allocated for as many as 10,000 groups of women entrepreneurs and women development groups. Nearly 20,000 self-help groups in the handloom and handicraft sectors will also be given 1 lakh each.
Kansal also informed that the authorities have extended the date for renewal or extension of registration certificates for licenses, permits and other statutory clearances from March 31 to June 30. He further added that the fixed component of power charges has also been deferred across all the sectors till June 30.
J&K ramps ups efforts to battle COVID-19
With the total number of COVID-19 cases exceeding the 600-mark in the valley, J&K is diligently working towards enhancing its testing capacity and will soon be conducting 2000 tests per day.
More than 8 lakh users have installed the Aarogya Setu mobile app and the J&K authorities are conducting a 100% health audit using the Swasthya Nidhi app.