More than 2 crore workers engaged in building and construction work have been provided Rs 3,000-crore funds by various states and Union Territories under the Prime Minister Garib Kalyan Yojana till now, a senior home ministry official said on Wednesday.
“Under the PM Garib Kalyan Yojana, the government has declared a relief package of Rs 1.7 lakh crore and under this there is a component for building and construction workers. There are about 3.5 crore such workers who are registered and the state governments were told that there is about Rs 31,000 fund available under this head.
“State governments have begun implementation and 31 states and union territories have announced cash benefits ranging from Rs 1,000 to Rs 6,000 (to construction workers),” Punya Salila Srivastava, joint secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), told reporters during a daily briefing.
“Over 2 crore workers have been given about Rs 3,000-crore funds. About 29 lakh such workers have also been given food relief,” she said while sharing updates about the steps taken to combat COVID-19 and enforcement of the ongoing lockdown in the country.
The officer said measures to enforce the 21-day lockdown in the country, from March 25 to April 14, have been “enhanced” by state governments and the police are doing “intensive surveillance”.
She said the administrations in various states and UTs are also taking the help of community leaders to spread awareness among the people about the pandemic and the lockdown.
“The state authorities have also initiated social distancing measures at public places like markets and banks by taking steps like area marking and barricading,” Ms Srivastava said, adding that the movement of essential goods and services in the country is also “satisfactory”.
As it was thought, she said, that people may indulge into black marketing or hoarding of essential items, Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla has written to all chief secretaries saying that “they should implement provisions under the Essential Commodities Act, 1955 and ensure that essential goods are available.”
State governments can take many steps like fixing of stock limits, capping of prices and inspection of dealers” accounts, among others, to check these instances, she added.
“We hope that with these measures our lockdown will be implemented effectively,” Ms Srivastava said.