The Kerala government on Thursday announced a Rs 20,000-crore stimulus package to address the economic slowdown caused by the spread of Covid-19. To haul up the economic and civic life pummelled by the spread of the virus, the state government will pump in money in various welfare measures and schemes, chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan said.
"Covid-19 has pushed the state to a major crisis. The spread of the virus has shaken the civic society and its economic activities. We intend to address these frontally by infusing a stimulus package to the tune of Rs 20,000 crore," he said.
Through the self-help groups of Kudumbasree Mission, loan assistance worth Rs 2,000 crore will be made available. The Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme to the tune of Rs 1,000 crore each will be launched in April and May. Social welfare pensions for April and May will be distributed in advance. This will require Rs 1,320 crore. About Rs 100 crore has been set aside to give Rs 1,000 each to those income-less persons who are outside the purview of welfare pension schemes.
"We will also float a Rs 500-crore health sector package in the context of the crisis," Vijayan said. "Earlier, we had announced setting up of low-cost food canteens, serving per meal at Rs 25 from September. This will be preponed to April."
Without APL/BPL discrimination, food grains will be supplied for a month. The state government has set aside Rs 100 crore for food grain rations.
As much as Rs 14,000 crore will be required to clear arrears that the state government owes to various institutions. This will be paid by April, he said.
The government has also agreed to give entertainment tax waiver to cinema houses. One month’s grace time will be allowed for payment of water and electricity bills, Vijayan said.