Karnataka announces a COVID-19 relief package for farmers and workers in the unorganised sector, opposition leaders call it ‘inadequate’

Published : May 19, 2021 14:45 IST

Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa. Photo: The Hindu Archives

Senior members of the opposition in Karnataka, including D.K. Shivakumar, Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee president, and former Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy of the Janata Dal (Secular) came down heavily on the Rs.1,250 crore COVID-19 relief package announced by Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa today, calling it “inadequate”.

Some of the salient features of the relief package announced at around noon today by Yediyurappa after a Cabinet meeting include the provision of Rs.3,000 for auto and taxi drivers and construction labourers and Rs.10,000 a hectare for floriculturists and fruit-growing farmers. The relief package also provides between Rs.2,000 and Rs.3,000 for members of various backward castes.

Speaking to media persons, Shivakumar stated: “We [the Indian National Congress] don’t have faith in this government. Even last year, they made a big show about a relief package but how many people actually benefited from the package? If they are genuinely interested in helping during this crisis, let them transfer Rs.10,000 directly to all poor families, or give it to local bodies such as panchayats who can ensure distribution to everyone without any cheating. This government has announced this package simply because of our political pressure. It is completely inadequate.”

Earlier, when the Congress demanded a Rs.10,000 transfer to all the poor families in the State, K.S. Eshwarappa, the Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Minister, stated on May 11 that the government was not “printing money”.

Commenting on Yediyurappa’s relief package, Kumaraswamy said that it was only a “drama”. “Even last year, the State government had declared a package. At the time, Rs.25,000 was being given to farmers and Rs. 5,000 to auto and taxi drivers respectively. Now, that sum has come down to Rs. 10,000 and Rs. 3,000 respectively. How will these meagre amounts help them? As COVID-19 spreads in rural Karnataka, farmers are incurring huge loans for treatment and you think that this small sum will help them?” asked Kumaraswamy.