The Assam government on July 11 started a scheme to provide financial assistance to widows who lost their husbands in the COVID-19 pandemic.

Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma inaugurated the Chief Minister’s COVID-19 Widows Support Scheme at a programme held at Srimanta Sankardev International Auditorium in Guwahati on July 11.

Under the scheme, a one-time financial assistance of Rs 2.5 lakh will be given to such women who lost their husbands due to COVID. In order to claim entitlement to the scheme, the deceased should have been COVID positive while he died and the beneficiary must belong to low-income group with an annual income up to Rs 5 lakh.

While inaugurating the scheme, chief minister Sarma handed over cheque amounting to Rs 2.5 lakh each to 176 beneficiaries belonging to eight districts – Kamrup (Metro), Nalbari, Darrang, Baksa, Morigaon, Nagaon, Goalpara and Kamrup.

As of today, 883 beneficiaries have become eligible under the scheme, as Sarma handed over the remaining cheques to the guardian ministers to distribute them to the entitled beneficiaries across the state.

Speaking on the occasion, chief minister Sarma said: “The occasion we have all assembled here is not a happy one, as the government is equally sad as much as the widows who have lost their husbands. Losing the loved ones is always painful. However, our government in its bid to provide a little support during these testing times, has decided to assuage the sufferings of the family members of the deceased with financial support.”

The Assam chief minister also said that the scheme has been launched to help the beneficiaries to lead a life of dignity in spite of pecuniary hardship that fate might lead them to in view of death of the loved ones.

Chief minister Sarma said that though Assam also bore the brunt of COVID-19 pandemic, the government is doing its level best to be with the affected people. He said that the government has already launched Sishu Seva Scheme to secure the academic future of the children who have lost both their parents in COVID. He also said that to help other victims of the COVID-19 pandemic, the government is creating budgetary support as he asked finance minister Ajanta Neog to make sizeable allocation of funds for the purpose.

Earlier, Assam health and family welfare minister Keshab Mahanta, while speaking on the occasion, gave an account of the state government’s line of actions to contain and control COVID-19 pandemic. He said that with the help of the chief minister, though the state government with its timely intensive and extensive interventions, the spread of the pandemic has been controlled, still the health department is working unrelentingly to bail the state out of the pandemic.

It may be noted that besides, Chief Minister’s COVID 19 Widows Support Scheme, COVID induced widow will also be entitled to the benefits of Arunodoi scheme along with monthly widow pension under the ongoing Indira Miri Universal Widow Pension Scheme.

Assam food, civil supplies and consumer affairs minister Ranjeet Kumar Dass, transport minister Chandra Mohan Patowary, environment and forest minister Parimal Suklabaidya, handloom and textile minister UG Brahma, agriculture minister Atul Bora, information and public relations minister Pijush Hazarika, education minister Ranuj Pegu along with others were present on the occasion.

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