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Kerala

Kerala Govt Seeks Special Covid Package from Centre

Thiruvananthapuram: Approximately 14 lakh expatriates have come back to Kerala, of which around 10 lakh has cited job loss due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, informed Kerala Finance Minister KN Balagopal on Thursday.

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Inside view of the Kerala Legislative Assembly (Photo Credit: PTI)

Thiruvananthapuram: Approximately 14 lakh expatriates have come back to Kerala, of which around 10 lakh has cited job loss due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, informed Kerala Finance Minister KN Balagopal on Thursday.

Responding to a question in Kerala Assembly on Thursday, the Finance Minister informed that the state would request for a special package from the central government considering the issues faced by the Non-Resident Indian (NRI) population who were forced to return home.

“The peculiar situation Kerala is undergoing will be taken up with the Centre as a large number of the expat population was forced to return home due to COVID. Also, the plantation sector in the state is under severe financial distress. During the meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had taken up the issues. All MPs from Kerala should jointly take up the matter,” he said.

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Amid the numerous challenges including the COVID-19 lockdown, Balagopal stated that the state is reeling under a massive financial crisis in the ongoing financial year too.

“The COVID pandemic has severely affected tax and non-tax revenue collection. But as a duty of the government we are carrying out various welfare schemes for people hit hard by the pandemic. Short term and long term plans have been devised and a stimulus package of Rs 20,000 crore was already declared in the budget,” he said.

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Furthermore, Congress MLA PC Vishnunath alleged that the stimulus package of around Rs 10,000 crores was used to pay the due bills of contractors and used to meet committed expenditure. For a query from him, whether a Coronavirus specific package would be implemented, the Minister added that even money given to contractors would be coming in the market.

“The government through the package has declared subsidised loans to various sectors. Through interest subvention scheme, the government has helped industries, traders and MSMEs. This will continue,” he added.

(With ANI Inputs)