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Kejriwal announces free ration; financial aid to auto, taxi drivers – Hindustan Times

Delhi will, once again, provide free ration for two months to cardholders and financial aid of 5,000 to the city’s auto-rickshaw and taxi drivers, chief minister Arvind Kejriwal said on Tuesday.

Addressing a digital press conference, Kejriwal said the free ration scheme will benefit around 7.2 million ration card holders and the financial assistance will help around 156,000 auto-rickshaw and taxi drivers.

“To deal with coronavirus, we have imposed a lockdown in Delhi, and this was essential to curtail the number of cases and to break the chain. Any lockdown creates a financial crisis for people, especially for the poor. It hits the daily wage workers particularly hard, following which it becomes difficult for them to run their homes,” he said.

“Today, we have taken two major decisions. Firstly, free ration will be provided to the around 72 lakh [7.2 million] ration cardholders of Delhi for the next two months to help the poor wade through financial crisis. Having said that, one should not assume that the lockdown will continue for the next two months. Let us hope that the cases begin to decrease and the lockdown is lifted early,” he said.

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The second decision, Kejriwal said, is to provide all registered auto-rickshaw and taxi drivers in the city a monetary aid of 5,000 each. “All auto-rickshaw drivers and taxi drivers too, are seeing some tough times, as their homes run on their daily wages. Some do not have much savings too, and with the lockdown of the past few weeks, their daily earnings have depleted completely. Even last year, when the lockdown was imposed, all of Delhi’s auto and taxi drivers were given 5,000 each by the Delhi government. Today, we’re extending the same financial assistance to all the auto and taxi drivers to help them during this financial adversity,” he said.

On April 20, the Delhi government announced it will resume its scheme of giving 5,000 financial aid to those registered with the Delhi building and other construction workers welfare board.

The chief minister also appealed to all political parties and their workers to unite and work together to help people as Delhi reels under the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We are undergoing a very difficult period and the second wave in the country has been extremely dangerous. There is so much sadness everywhere, people are troubled and are falling ill all across. It is my earnest request that this is the time to help each other, this is the time to become a good human being. Everyone, irrespective of the party they belong to, be it the BJP or the Congress or the Aam Aadmi Party, everyone should together help each other. This is not the time for politics; everyone should work together. Be it any religion, or any caste, this disease does not discriminate. Be it the rich or the poor, everyone should help each other,” he said.

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