New Delhi: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday (May 18) announced financial compensation for families whose sole breadwinner has died due to COVID, along with free education for children who’ve lost both parents to COVID. He also announced free ration to those families struggling during the lockdown.
Kejriwal said, “The pandemic has hit an ordinary person on every side. The lockdown that we had to impose because of the virus, has led to several challenges. People are losing livelihoods, are running short of food supplies, and if affected with the virus, face problems with respect to hospital admissions. While treatment at government hospitals is free of cost, that’s not the case in private hospitals. People have lost their loved ones, and sometimes, the sole earning member. I know many children who have lost both their parents.”
He added, “Today, after much deliberation, we’ve taken four decisions, and hope these steps may comfort people during this difficult time. Firstly, in Delhi, there are about 72 lakh people who have a ration card. The government provides 5kg ration every month to those who have a ration card – 4kg wheat and 1kg rice. This is given against a meager sum of money. This month, it will be given for free. In addition, an additional 5kg ration under the scheme by the Prime Minister, by the Central Government is being provided free of cost. So, every ration cardholder will get 10 kgs of ration free of cost for this month. But, Delhi has 72 lakh ration cardholders. The Central Government has fixed a quota for ration cardholders for every state. Therefore, new ration cards cannot be made right now. But there are many people who are poor, and do not possess a ration card because the ration quota got fulfilled for Delhi. The Delhi government will provide ration to such people too. All those people who will declare that they are poor and need ration will be provided with ration.”
CM Arvind Kejriwal said, “Last year too when we witnessed the first wave, we provided ration to non-PDS people. Similarly, we will provide ration to all those who do not possess a ration card. This will be implemented within 3-4 days. One does not need to provide any income certificate to avail this. Secondly, many people have died because of COVID. Their families have our sympathy. While we cannot eradicate this loss, we can try and support families in such difficult times. All those families where there have been deaths due to COVID will be given an ex-gratia amount of Rs 50,000.”
He further said, “In families where there has been a loss of the earning member, along with the ex-gratia amount, a monthly pension of Rs 2,500 will also be started. If the husband dies, then the pension will be given to the wife, if the wife dies then the pension will be given to the husband, and if a person is unmarried then the parents will be provided the pension.”
He added, “All those children who have lost both their parents to COVID; or if their single parent to COVID, and have been orphaned, every such child will be given ₹2,500 per month till the age of 25 and those children will be provided with free education. These steps will be implemented within the next few days and will be passed by the Cabinet.”
Kejriwal said, “You must be thinking about how the Delhi government will get such a huge amount of money for fulfilling and implementing these announcements. In the past six years, in every governmental work we do, we have saved money by avoiding unnecessary expenditure. My ministers, officers and I have come up with different ways to save and withdraw expenses from, and drawn up these four crucial policies. I can understand that you are in trouble. In these difficult times, please know that I am with you. It is my duty to help you whenever you are in trouble.”