Assam on Thursday introduced welfare schemes for children orphaned by Covid and those who have lost their spouses to the virus. Announcing the two major Covid welfare schemes, Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said he aims to inoculate the entire state by August 15 with at least the first dose of the vaccine.
Mr Sarma, during a media interaction marking the completion of one month of his taking charge as the chief minister, spoke about the state’s COVID-19 vaccination drive and fight against drugs among other things.
Thursday marked the initiation of the Mukhya Mantri Sishu Seva Yojana under which 11 children, orphaned due to Covid, received a financial assistance of Rs 3,500 for this month and a fixed deposit of Rs 7,81,200 against which, they will get Rs 3,500 every month from July till they are 24 years old. They have also been given a laptop each.
“After the age of 24, they will get the principal amount, too. Verification is going on and soon other children will also receive the benefit under the scheme that covers orphaned children with family support and without family support,” Mr Sarma said after officially handing over the cheques in Guwahati.
Under the scheme, those widowed due to COVID-19, will be given a one time financial assistance of Rs 2.5 lakh while Rs 1,130 – Rs 830 from Arunoday Scheme and Rs 300 from the widow pension scheme – will be given every month.
The Chief Minister’s Relief Fund has received Rs 118 crore in donation from corporates like Reliance and Tata, Mr Sarma said.
“Of the total money received, Rs 50 crore has been spent for procuring vaccines while the rest was used for the two schemes,” he said.
The Chief Minister said that all the payments under the welfare schemes, both recent and existing ones, will be sent to the beneficiaries on the 10th of every month.
After the Centre stepped in to supply vaccines to the state governments from June 21, Assam has saved about Rs 650 crore earmarked for procuring vaccines, he further said.
Assam may receive 3.5 lakh vaccine doses daily before July 1 from Centre which will help inoculate the state’s entire population by August 15 with at least the first dose, the chief minister said.
“Currently, we are focussing our vaccination more on epicentres which are in the A-6 cities – Guwahati, Dibrugarh, Tinsukia, Tezpurz, Cachar and Nagaon – to contain the contamination,” Mr Sarma said.
On the ongoing anti-drugs campaign where the state police has cracked down on drug peddlers, Himanta Biswa Sarma said Assam has in the last one month recovered narcotics worth around Rs 24 crores, of which heroin was worth Rs 7.89 crore, marijuana Rs 6.1 crore, unprescribed drugs Rs 9.02 crore along with cough syrups, opium, and morphine.