With Covid-19 infections spiralling out of control in the national capital, the Delhi government on Tuesday said it will provide financial assistance of Rs 5,000 to auto-rickshaw and taxi drivers and free ration to 72 lakh beneficiaries for two months to help them survive the peak of the pandemic and tide through lockdown.
These developments come in the backdrop of the national capital logging a record 448 Covid-19 fatalities on Monday while the city’s positivity rate continued to remain below 30 per cent for a second consecutive day.
On Sunday, Delhi had logged 407 fatalities and on Saturday the toll stood at 412.
To contain the spread of the virus, the AAP government had imposed a lockdown which stands effective till May 10.
On Tuesday, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said he is hopeful that the situation in Delhi will improve and a further extension of the lockdown will not be needed.
"Our decision to provide free ration for two months does not mean that the lockdown will continue for two months. We imposed the lockdown to contain the spread of COVID, and I am hopeful that we will end this as soon as possible," he added.
Further, Kejriwal said, "The Delhi government provided financial assistance of Rs 5,000 to each of the 1.56 lakh auto and taxi drivers during the last year's lockdown and will do so again this time to help them."
The Delhi government imposed a lockdown in the national capital to check the spread of Covid-19. However, lockdown creates a financial crisis for people, especially for the poor and daily wage earners who find it difficult to run their homes, he said.
Last week, the Delhi government had announced financial assistance of Rs 5,000 for construction workers, he said.
Describing the current situation in Delhi as a "very difficult time", the chief minister appealed to people to help each other in finding hospital beds, oxygen, medicines and provide food wherever needed.
"We are undergoing a very difficult time and the second wave has been extremely dangerous. There is so much despair and sadness all around. This is the time to become good human beings and help each other," he said.
Kejriwal also called on all political parties to help people.
"I appeal to all political parties to rise above political affiliations and help people irrespective of their class, caste or religion," he said.
This is not the time to indulge in politics and everyone, whether they belong to BJP, Congress or AAP, should help those who have been hit by the pandemic, he said.
(With PTI inputs)
For in-depth, objective and more importantly balanced journalism, Click here to subscribe to Outlook Magazine