Kathmandu, Apr. 2: The government has decided to distribute six varieties of food and other essentials to the families of informal and unorganised sector workers and deprived people who lost jobs due to the coronavirus pandemic. The relief package includes 30 kg rice, 3 kg pulses, 2 kg salt, 2 kg sugar, 2 litres cooking oil, and 4 pieces soaps. A family of more than two members will get a package of the items while a household of two or less individuals will get half of the materials, reads the standards for the workers of the informal sector and deprived people published by the Ministry of Finance Wednesday. According to the standards, any family of the worker or deprived people which has even a single member involved in income generating works will not be entitled for the relief materials. Likewise, relief materials will not be distributed to more than one member of the family.
Hundreds of thousands of workers are forced to stay at home following the implementation of lockdown since last week. Meanwhile, the government had decided to extend the lockdown for another week from Tuesday. The federal government has given the relief distribution responsibility to the local governments. As per the standards, respective ward office will collect the data of the needy people, procure the required materials and distribute it. The ward offices should collect the price list of the items from the local vendors, check and decide about the quality and price of the materials. They have to provide coupons to the eligible beneficiaries and the people will collect the items from the vendors. Daily wage labourers working at grocery and other shops as well as tourists, construction and other porters, workers who load and unload goods in trucks and tippers, and agricultural workers. Likewise, the definition includes people involved in caretaking and sanitation in the families other than their kin and relatives, brick kiln and sand workers, mason, carpenter and helper in the construction sector, newspaper hawker, footpath, bicycle and cart vendors. Wage workers at the local levels, garment, carpet, tailoring and art workers, and drivers, auto mechanics, taxi and tempo drivers and rickshaw riders will also be liable for the government relief. The local bodies must maintain the details of the beneficiaries and anyone who obtains the relief by any unfair means or with misleading information will be punished according to the law, reads the standards. For the workers of the formal sectors, the ministry, on Tuesday, had directed the industry or business owners to provide the salary or wages to the workers. Tourism sector industries should also pay the salary of the month of Chaitra 2076 (mid-March to mid-April 2020) to their staff and workers. However, the business or industrial institutions can use the money from the welfare fund of the company until they are out of business due to the coronavirus pandemic.