The Assam government on Tuesday announced a 30-per cent cut in the salaries for the chief minister, ministers and MLAs for one year and said the fund accrued will be used for the treatment of COVID-19 patients and management of the outbreak.
The decision, which came a day after the Union cabinet moved to cut 30 per cent salary of all parliamentarians for a year, was taken at a meeting of the state's Council of Ministers. It was also decided at the meeting that the state government will not issue any directive regarding the ongoing lockdown and follow only the Centre's advisories.
"The meeting of the Council of Ministers decided to deduct 30 per cent of the salary of the chief minister and other members of the State Council of Ministers and the MLAs for a period of one year," the Chief Minister's Office said in a statement. The fund thus accrued will be used for the treatment and management of COVID-19, it added.
Besides MPs, the prime minister and Union minister, the President, the Vice President and governors of states have also voluntarily decided to take a pay cut as a social responsibility. "The state government would not pass any directives regarding lockdown and the central government directives on lockdown would continue keeping social distancing norms intact," it said.
It was also decided that the Deputy Commissioners of the districts will have to maintain social distance while implementing the central government's directives on lockdown. "State Government would hold meeting of its Council of Ministers on April 12, 2020 after receiving guidelines regarding relaxation of lockdown from the Central Government and decisions would be taken in the meeting about continuing lockdown in the State," it said.
The government also announced to expand the scope of its financial package announced on March 30 and included more families, which are not covered under the National Food Security Act (NFSA), for the benefits. As per the new decisions, 150 families in villages having a population of upto 5,000 people, 200 families in villages having 5,000-10,000 people and 250 families in a gaon panchayat with a population of over 10,000 will get Rs 1,000 cash support.
In addition, Rs 1,000 will be given to 300 families in each gaon panchayat area inhabited by 10,000-15,000 people and 350 families in a place lived by 15,000-25,000 persons. The government decided to give the cash assistance to 300 families of each ward of Guwahati Municipal Corporation and 150 families of each ward of other municipal bodies in the state, the statement said. "Gaon Panchayat presidents or members, Anchalik Panchayat members and Jila Parishad members or their family members would not be eligible to receive financial assistance, irrespective of possessing or not possessing a National Food Security Act (NFSA) card," it added.
The state government will ensure authenticity of the beneficiary list while giving out the assistance, the statement said. "It was decided to bring employees of all departments engaged in the frontline against Coronavirus outbreak like ASTC, Power Department etc under the insurance scheme of Rs 50 lakh along with the health and police department officials," the government said.
Besides, departments concerned will ensure regular monthly disbursals of financial assistance to beneficiaries under Kushal Konwar Old Age Pension Scheme, it added.