The government has yet to respond to a call for financial aid for workers
As Karnataka begins a two-week curfew on Tuesday, a cabinet minister led by BS Yediyurappa said the government is unlikely to provide financial assistance to residents who face a growing second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic. .
“We give free vaccines. Rice is offered free of charge. We give everything. We all need to take collective responsibility. It is a form of sacrifice. There will be losses, but this is how this pandemic is unfolding, ”K Sudhakar, Minister of Health, Family Welfare and Medical Education of Karnataka told the Hindustan Times.
The statement comes even as the opposition Congress in the state demanded compensation for day laborers.
“The Congress Party had demanded that ₹25,000 will be debited from the accounts of those hardest hit by the lockdown. These are people who depend on the daily wage for their livelihood like carpenters, garment workers, plumbers, those who work in gyms and other places. We thought the government would at least debit ₹10,000 or ₹15,000, but nothing at the moment, ”said Ramalinga Reddy, current president of Congress in Karnataka.
Chief Minister Yediyurappa on Monday announced a 14-day shutdown, during which all businesses not listed as essential will remain closed and movement of people will be restricted. The government has allowed stores selling essentials to operate for four hours from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m.
Shortly after the announcement, several industry bodies, including those representing the garment sector, called on the government to allow businesses to operate with a reduced workforce while the curfew is in effect. in force.
“In the two-month lockdown last year, all garment workers had to give up their wages and even lose their jobs. The workers have not yet recovered from the impact, now all of a sudden only the clothing industry has been asked to shut down and it is an assault on the workers ”.
Prathiba R, the president of the Garment and Textile Workers Union (GATWU) wrote to the chief minister on Tuesday.
The union also said it had yet to hear from the government on compensation for lost wages of people working in the garment industry. “There are over 500,000 workers who depend on this occupation for their livelihood. Of these, 85% are women and almost 50% of them alone have the responsibilities of their family ”, reads the letter.
The Bengaluru Chamber of Industry and Commerce (BCIC) has also called on the state government to allow garment companies to operate.
“We understand the decision not to allow garment industries to operate because the workforce density is high and it is very difficult to follow Covid protocols. We suggest that garment companies may be allowed to work with a workforce reduced between 30% and 50% and adequate social distancing and appropriate COVID protocols … ”the BCIC said in a statement shortly. time after the government announced 14-day restrictions in the state on Monday.
BCIC President TR Parasuraman said the industry is fully prepared to adhere to the Covid Protocol with the appropriate behavior of people.
“Strict enforcement of appropriate Covid behavior is a must and law breakers should be treated strictly,” Parasuraman said.
“The BCIC believes that it is very important that the operating workforce across the country be vaccinated as a priority to ensure that industries are working uninterrupted from people working from home to ensure that the The economy is not affected due to the loss of production, ”Parasuraman added.
The lockdown, which the state government prefers to call guidelines to ‘break the chain of transmission of Covid-19 in the state’, came at a time when Karnataka and its capital Bengaluru in particular were reporting an increase record number of infections over the past two weeks, indicating the deterioration of the health crisis in the state.
Karnataka reported 31,830 new cases of Covid-19 on Tuesday, bringing the total number of active infections in the state to 301,899. Bengaluru accounted for 17,550 new infections, bringing the city’s total number of cases so far to 475,525 , of which 206,223 are active. A total of 180 deaths have been reported by the state, including 97 in Bengaluru, bringing the death toll in Karnataka and its capital to 14,807 and 6,002, respectively, according to the daily health department bulletin. The positivity rate was 18.71%, according to the government.
Several other cities, including Delhi, have imposed the lockdown to contain the unprecedented surge in Covid-19 cases.
The restrictions were severely imposed on residents affected by the pandemic of Bengaluru and other parts of Karnataka, which experts said were paying the price for the state government’s lack of preparedness which was warned in November of the last year by the technical advisory committee. (TAC) of an impending and more infectious second wave of Covid-19 infections in February or March.
A TAC member said he made no specific reference to financial aid as it was a matter of policy.
While employees of most multinational corporations (multinationals) and other corporate organizations have been asked to work from home, the same cannot be said for those employed in industries like manufacturing and other small businesses. units.
The Yediyurappa government has been accused of refraining from using the word “lockdown” to avoid giving any compensation to workers, an expert said, requesting anonymity.