As Covid-19 cases surge across the country, resulting in several curbs on business activities, the Delhi government has decided to give free ration to all ration cardholders in the national capital for the next two months.
“We have decided that all ration card holders in Delhi, around 72 lakh in number, will be given free ration for the next two months,” said Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday.
लॉकडाउन में ग़रीबों को सबसे ज़्यादा आर्थिक मुसीबत का सामना करना पड़ता है। उनके लिए कुछ घोषणायें
— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) May 4, 2021
“It does not mean that the lockdown will continue for two months. It is just being done to help the poor going through financial issues,” he added.
The CM further announced financial assistance of ₹5,000 each for all autorickshaw and taxi drivers in Delhi. “This is being done so that they get a little help during this financial crisis,” he said.
“Imposition of the lockdown was necessary to curb the spread of the virus. But a lockdown can create great financial difficulties for the underprivileged sections, especially the daily wage labourers,” said Kejriwal while speaking about the importance of the announced social security measures.
The Delhi government had last week said it has disbursed ex gratia payments of ₹5,000 each to construction workers registered under the Delhi Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare Board.
In a statement, the city government said a total of 2,10,684 construction workers will be granted aid under this scheme.
“At present, the Delhi government has disbursed ₹52.88 crore to 1,05,750 construction workers and in the coming days, more construction workers will be granted this ex gratia relief,” it said.
Prior to this, the central government had announced that it will provide free food grains under the PM Garib Kalyan Ann Yojana for the months of May and June.
In a statement, the government had said five-kilogram free food grains will be provided to around 80 crore beneficiaries under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) via ration shops or Public Distribution System.
PMGKAY was reintroduced amid request from some state governments and after seeing the high level of success last year when the sudden lockdown was imposed to contain the spread of Covid-19.
With coronavirus infections surging, the lockdown imposed in the national capital was extended by a week for the second time. Delhi is currently under lockdown till 10 May.
On 25 April, the Delhi government had extended the Covid-induced lockdown in the national capital till 3 May. A six-day lockdown was announced by the Chief Minister on 19 April.