Karnataka lockdown: Cash disbursement to begin, 20 days on | Bengaluru News – Times of India

BENGALURU: It’s been 17 days since chief minister BS Yediyurappa announced the first relief package for those whose livelihood has been hit by the Covid-induced lockdown but disbursement of cash assistance is yet to start.
“Barring a handful of construction workers who got the assistance as part of a trial, disbursement has not started at all. When we checked with the labour department, officials said technical reasons are the cause for the delay,” said K Mahantesh, secretary, Karnataka unit of CITU.
Yediyurappa, while announcing the second relief package on Thursday, claimed about 70% of beneficiaries of the first package are receiving benefits.
On May 19, Yeddyurappa announced Rs 3,000 cash assistance each to autorickshaw, cab, maxicab drivers and construction workers and Rs 2,000 each to washermen, barbers, porters, domestic helps and others. He had said disbursement would start within a week. In all, 23.8 lakh beneficiaries were targeted.
Officials attribute the delay to collection of data of beneficiaries and verification. “Since beneficiary numbers are in lakhs, collection of their Aadhaar numbers, bank details and verifying them takes time,” said a senior labour department official. But, labour organisations blame the government for asking beneficiaries to apply afresh though it already has data of a significant number of beneficiaries.
“For example, the government collected data of 1.2 lakh auto and cab drivers last year when a similar package was announced. Similarly, data of about 24 lakh construction workers is readily available with the state’s construction workers welfare board. What is stopping the government from disbursing the amount to them as their credentials are already verified?” asks Basavaraju, office-bearer, Karnataka Auto Drivers Union, Bengaluru.
1.9 lakh applications
Another labour leader attributed the delay to the CM’s wish to kickstart disbursement at a function on Saturday. “He wanted to get political mileage by holding a programme,” he alleged.
Disbursement of cash assistance to autorickshaw, cab and maxi cab drivers is managed by the transport department. “We have received 1.9 lakh applications, of which 1.2 lakh have been verified and sent to the treasury. Disbursement to them will start from Monday,” said an official of the department.
An official of the Karnataka State Unorganised Workers Welfare Board said the board has data of 1.2 lakh barbers and washermen and they will get cash assistance by next week.

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Sagar Biswas

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