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Maha gives packages for tribals, labourers hit by lockdown

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Mumbai, Aug 14 (IANS) In a significant move, the Maharashtra cabinet has given its nod to packages for tribal families and construction workers in the state who are hit hard by the lockdown, it was announced on Friday.

As per the cabinet decision, there will be a package of Rs 436 crore for tribals and forest-dwelling communities, under which each family will get a special grant of Rs 4,000.

This will directly benefit around 1.25 crore tribals and forest-dwellers, among more than 11.50 lakh eligible households. A part of the money will be given in direct cash transfers and the rest as foodgrains and other materials.

“This is a revolutionary decision by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and will ease the suffering of the poor tribal households which suffered during the main season of forest produce between March to May. It will also enable them to clear their outstanding debts and help tackle problems of health of women, infants and children in the tribal belts,” Vasantrao Naik Sheti Swavlamban Mission President Kishore Tiwari told IANS.

A high-level committee headed by Additional Chief Secretary, Finance, M.K. Saunik will oversee the implementation of the scheme starting with cash transfers by September.

Labour Minister Dilip Walse-Patil has also announced a second instalment of Rs 300 crore for nearly 10 lakh construction workers who have been rendered jobless in view of the ongoing lockdown.

Under this, all eligible labourers will get Rs 3,000 directly into their bank accounts to help them tide over the immediate crisis.

The minister said that the first instalment of Rs 2,000 was disbursed in April to 9.15 lakh labourers, when all construction activities had come to an abrupt standstill in the state.

“However, in the series of phased unlockdowns underway since the past couple of months, building and construction activities have not fully resumed and the labourers are facing financial difficulties. The implementation of this scheme will be taken up immediately,” Walse-Patil said.



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