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Ramakanta Biswas

In a major decision, the Odisha government on Tuesday announced to provide social security benefits and special Covid assistance to newspaper hawkers in the State. 

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has announced the social security scheme acknowledging the important role played by the newspaper hawkers in the dissemination of information, said a statement issued by the Chief Minister's Office (CMO). 

As per the scheme, all hawkers registered under the Odisha Unorganised Workers Social Security Board will be provided social security benefits. The family of a hawker will get an ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh in case of accidental death and Rs 1 lakh for natural death. 

Similarly, hawkers who become completely disabled due to accident will be given Rs 1.5 lakh. In case of partial disability, the loss of both the organs (loss of both limbs) will be given Rs 80,000 and that of those who have lost one organ (loss of one limb) Rs 40,000.

In view of the financial distress faced by them due to Covid, the government has decided to provide special assistance of Rs 3000 in two phases to all registered newspaper hawkers. The assistance will be released from the Chief Minister's Relief Fund (CMRF). 

The State government has also decided to construct work-sheds for the hawkers at subdivision and district levels. Moreover, the CM has directed the Information and Public Relations department to prepare a digital database of hawkers at the State and district levels and provide them identity cards.

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