Karnataka Gives Relief to MSMEs, Cash Aid to Barbers and Auto Drivers as Liquor Excise Duty Hiked 11%

Karnataka Gives Relief to MSMEs, Cash Aid to Barbers and Auto Drivers as Liquor Excise Duty Hiked 11%

The BS Yediyurappa government in Karnataka has announced a relief package of over Rs 1,600 crore for groups worst hit by the lockdown that was imposed to stem the spread of coronavirus. The package will benefit small and medium enterprises, handloom weavers, flower growers, dhobis or washermen, barbers, auto and taxi drivers among others.

Flower sellers will get a relief of Rs 25,000 per hectare limited to a maximum extent of one hectare for the crop loss.There will be a one-time Rs 5,000 compensation for washermen and barbers. Auto and taxi drivers will get a one-time relief of Rs 5,000. Construction workers will receive Rs 3,000 in addition to the Rs 2,000 received earlier.

"COVID-19 has not only affected farmers, but also affected the service professionals such as barbers and washermen (dhobis) both in urban and rural areas. The government has decided to provide a one-time compensation of Rs 5,000 each to benefit about 60,000 washermen and about 2,30,000 barbers," Chief Minister Yediyurappa said.

Handloom workers too will get Rs 2,000 in their bank accounts.

Micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) will have a two-month waiver on electricity bills. Electricity bills of large industries will be deferred for two months.

Karnataka has three districts which still have the Red Zone tag or areas with a signifcant number of COVID-19 cases. This includes the capital city of Bengaluru which is a huge source of revenue in normal times. The state has reported 671 coronavirus cases so far, including 29 deaths.

Several restrictions are still in place in the state as part of the extended lockdown that kicked in on Monday. The BJP-ruled state government's revenue has been severely reduced since the lockdown was announced in March.

The opening of liquor shops on Monday saw sales of Rs 45 crore on the first day and Rs 197 crore on the second day.