Bhubaneswar, June 17: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Thursday announced a Rs 1,690.46-crore COVID assistance package for the people from the economically and socially weaker sections who are facing difficulties in making ends meet due to the ongoing lockdown in the state.

Under the package, registered construction workers will get an additional Rs 1,500 each, landless farmers will get Rs 1,000 extra, MGNREGA workers will receive Rs 50 more per day, while food security beneficiaries will get additional 5 kg rice.

Landless farmers, construction workers, urban poor, members of the Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs), State Food Security beneficiaries, MGNREGA workers and PWD (persons with disabilities) students will be benefited from the package, Patnaik said in a statement. Raja Festival 2021 in Odisha: Twitter Flooded With Raja Parba Wishes; Mithun Sankranti Celebration Begins Today.

"The two-month-long lockdown during the second wave of the pandemic has broken the backbone of the poor people, who have been worst affected from the financial point of view. The government has come up with this aid to provide some relief," he said.

For the poor in all the 114 urban local bodies, the state government had earlier launched the Mukta scheme, under which the beneficiaries will get employment till December 21 for which Rs 260 crore has been earmarked, Patnaik said.

Under the special package, around 17.83 lakh landless farmers under the state's flagship KALIA scheme will get additional assistance of Rs 1,000 each, for which the state government will spend Rs 207 crore, he said.

Registered construction workers will also get additional assistance of Rs 1,500 each as a COVID package. Around Rs 360 crore will be spent for the purpose, he said. Odisha has around 66,214 PVTG families. Each family will get Rs 5,000 through the direct benefit transfer mode. Around Rs 33.10 crore will be spent on this, the chief minister said.

MGNREGA workers will be paid an additional amount of Rs 50 daily from April 21 to June 21, for which Rs 300 crore will be spent. State Food Security Scheme beneficiaries will get an additional 5 kg of rice for free from July to November, for which Rs 92.86 crore will be spent.

Around 5.5 lakh students of SC/ST schools will get the pre-matric scholarship from April to September in two phases. An amount of Rs 252.35 crore will be spent on it.

As many as 26,465 differently-abled students of special schools will get scholarships in the range of Rs 200- Rs 350. He said the government has also made arrangements at 12 'AAHAR' centres in Bhubaneswar to provide cooked food to the poor. Around 4,000 meals are being served daily, Patnaik added.

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