Over 4 lakh people from Assam stranded outside eligible for subsistence allowance, verification process underway, says Himanta Biswa Sarma
Assam health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Saturday said that over 9.29 lakh missed calls were received on the state helpline number, of which 4.32 lakh calls have been verified
The Assam government has identified 4.32 lakh people stranded outside the state during the lockdown who are eligible for a ‘subsistence allowance’. The state government was earlier working on a plan to offer cash support to Assamese stranded outside the state and abroad on a case-by-case basis.
Assam health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Saturday said that over 9.29 lakh missed calls were received on the state helpline number, of which 4.32 lakh calls have been verified. With the verification process still underway, the state government plans to provide financial assistance to first 50,000 people registered through the National Health Mission (NHM).
“We have identified 4.32 lakh people, so far, who are stuck in some part of the country and wish to return home. They are all from economically weaker background. The first 50,000 people are likely to receive a monetary benefit tomorrow. Till now, 2.17 lakh people have filled up forms, and I request others also - to take help and submit their forms soon,” said Sarma.
The government earlier announced that those hailing from ‘upper middle class’ and sound monetary background should not apply for this benefit.
“When we go for physical verification, we will be able to identify how many are from the affordable category. At present, home-to-home survey by district administration is underway. Of 45,469 applications, only 1,206 have been rejected under economic criteria. And 95 percent of these people are those who are working for a salary not more than Rs 15,000 to 20,000,” added Sarma.
A total of 64 thousand people from Assam working outside the state are living in Karnataka. While Kerala has 34,000 temporary workers from Assam, Tamil Nadu has 33,000. Among other states, 21,000 people working in Maharashtra and 16,000 in Telangana hail from Assam. About 22,778 people are scattered across Gujarat, Goa, West Bengal, Haryana and New Delhi.
A vast majority of people working outside the state hail from Nagaon district. The state government estimates about 15 lakh people will return to Assam from hotspots across the country once lockdown is lifted.
As many as 34 Assamese stranded outside the country have been identified and offered $1000 each. The next installment of the same amount will be released on 25 April. Those who had embarked on a short trip abroad and now down to their last few dollars will be eligible for this aid.
The state government has also provided financial support of Rs 25,000 each to 725 critically ill patients from Assam hospitalised outside the state .
Till Saturday evening, Assam registered 34 positive cases, of which 32 are linked to Nizamuddin Markaz. Twelve COVID-19 patients have recovered, and have been discharged from the hospital. While 79 percent of those infected are male, 21 percent are female COVID-19 patients.
“Assam is in a comfortable situation as far as the first wave is concerned,” said Sarma, adding that the state is moderately placed when it comes to testing. About 150 to 200 samples are tested on a daily basis at the six accredited government testing facilities in Assam, and the government plans to go for rapid testing at government hospitals.
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