GUWAHATI, April 20 - In a major initiative, Assam government today provided a subsistence allowance of Rs 2,000 each to 86,000 people residing outside the State.
These people had sent a SOS through a missed call in a number provided by the State government, after which follow up action was done utilizing services of more than 400 volunteers, including students from Gauhati University, Assam Engineering College and Cotton University.
Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said 9.29 lakh missed calls were received.
�Some had given several missed calls. We got over 200 missed calls from one particular number. When we did a headcount, the number came down to 4.29 lakh,� Sarma said.
The stranded people were then asked to fill up a form, which was later verified by the administrations of their respective districts in the State.
�The administration has so far verified 1.02 lakh forms and we have found around 99,000 of them eligible for the assistance. In the first lot, we have transferred Rs 2,000 to the bank accounts of 86,000 people today,� the Health Minister said. Another installment is likely to be disbursed before the lockdown ends.
Assam is one of the few states to have reached out to its people outside the State in such a way and that too using a simple technology.
The Minister said the government now has an idea as to where the people of the State are living currently.
�We got maximum calls from Karnataka (68,000), followed by Tamil Nadu (36,000), Kerala (34,000) and Maharashtra (21,000). Of course, this does not include well off people,� he said.
The data, he said, will help the government plan out the next phase of action when these people return to the State.
�We will know from where the people will come and where they will go. We can regulate the inflow and plan the screening and quarantine strategy accordingly,� he said.
Earlier, the State government had released Rs 25,000 each to 647 cancer patients stranded outside the State due to the lockdown.