Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel on Sunday outlined his government's vision post Covid-19, saying giving money to farmers, workers and forest dwellers will not only lift their economic condition but give a surge to rural and urban business in Chhattisgarh.
In a special broadcast on AIR, Baghel underlined that the Congress government's assistance in this house of crisis to the economically most vulnerable will, like last year, help Chhattisgarh remain untouched by the nationwide financial downturn.
The Chief Minister said as of now more than 90 percent of industrial establishments in the state are back at work but not in their full potential. "But gradually their capacity is increasing. We are making efforts to open businesses which provide employment to urban labourers as soon as possible."
Describing migrants passing through Chhattisgarh as "brothers and sisters", he urged people in the state to take care of them and not to do anything that hurts them.
Baghel also appeal to migrant workers returning to Chhattisgarh from other states to strictly follow the guidelines of quarantine.
"You have walked thousands of kilometres and reached your village, now it is a matter of few days."
Chhattisgarh had agreed to run 43 special trains to bring back migrant labourers, he added.
Baghel explained in detail how the Rajiv Gandhi Kisan Nyay Yojana will enable the farmers of the state get a fair price for their produce.
He said a total of Rs 5,750 crores is being given to 19 lakh farmers in four installments, with the first lot of Rs 1,500 crores already transferred to the bank accounts of farmers on May 21.
Although his government went for loan waiver and purchased paddy at Rs 2,500 per quintal last year, "as per the instructions of the government of India, we had to buy paddy at the support price this year."
He said the plight of farmers in Chhattisgarh being what it is, they had a right to get this money from the government.
The government is also providing agricultural input assistance at Rs 10,000 per acre to maize growing farmers and Rs 13,000 per acre to sugarcane growing farmers, he said. In the coming year, pulses and oilseed crops will be included in this scheme.
"We have constituted a committee of departmental officers headed by the Chief Secretary to include the landless farmers also in this scheme. The committee will study and submit its report to the cabinet within two months."
He said that ration card holders of BPL families will also get rice free of cost in June. Those who do not have ration card too will get 5 kg rice per person. Those who do not have a job card of MGNREGA will be given one.
Baghel said that despite the Covid-19 induced lockdown, Chhattisgarh started MGNREGA works and about 26 lakh labourers are working under it.
He pointed out that 44 percent forest area of Chhattisgarh has tribal residents, whose economy is based on small forest produce. During lockdown, all shops are closed and buying of small forest produce has halted.
So, the government has started buying Mahua and tamarind through self-help groups. The work of Mahua, tamarind and Tendupatta was not stopped.
"Our brothers and sisters living in the jungle will get Rs 2,500 crores in their pocket."
When farmers, labourers and tribals all have money, their purchasing power will increase. As a result, businesses will grow, both in rural and urban areas.
The Chief Minister said that the tribals never used to migrate earlier and all their needs were fulfilled in the forest itself. But gradually as the cutting of Amla, Chironji and Mango trees started, their sources of income fell, leading to migration.
He said this year the government will plant 70 lakhs fruit bearing plantations including Harra, Bahera, Chironji and Amla which will become the source of income for tribals. In the middle of these trees, Jimikanda and Haldi plants, which grow even in shade, could also be planted.
Baghel said 16,499 quarantine centers had been set up for labourers coming from different states.
As Chhattisgarh is surrounded by seven states, workers of many states are passing through the state. Many labourers are coming on foot, and they are being given food, water and health check-up and help to reach their state's border.
"We regard these workers belonging to other states as our guests, it will be ensured that they are nicely looked after. The people who are coming in this hour of crisis are our own, our relatives, our brothers and sisters... It is our responsibility to take care of them, do not treat them in any way that hurts them," he said.
The Chief Minister asked people not to panic. "If you protect yourself properly, we will be able to defeat corona."
He made it clear that people will have to learn to live with Covid-19.
"Avoid going to crowded places. Put on masks and keep washing your hands. Only by adopting these protective measures will we all be able to overcome this infection."