Andhra Pradesh government to offer one-time grant to religious service leaders to cope with COVID-19 pandemic

Published 23 April 2020  |  
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File:The Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, Shri Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy calling on the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, in New Delhi on August 06, 2019.jpg

On April 22, the Andhra Pradesh government announced that it will provide a financial aid of 5000 rupees to Christian leaders, Hindu priests and Muslim imams in the state to help the religious leaders during the coronavirus lockdown.

"Indeed, it is good news," Father Anthoniraj Thumma, executive secretary of the Federation of Telugu Churches, told UCA News.

"We should all welcome the step taken by the government as it is timely and necessary because many religious leaders have been going through bad times due to the lockdown and have no source of income," he added.

"Since churches, temples and mosques are closed, this grant will be benefit those who depend on donations from them. However, those who are already receiving a regular salary or honorarium from the state or religious institutions are excluded, according to the government order," Father Thumma explained.

As Muslims greet the holy month of Ramadan, Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy has urged the community to offer prayers from home.

"Prayers are offered at least five times during Ramadan in the mosque or collectively, but the present circumstances do not permit this, hence the request. It is your responsibility to convey this to fellow brethren. It's a difficult thing to ask for, but it is inevitable," said Reddy.

Reddy, who is a Christian himself, said that the government belonged to all communities and worked for the welfare of everyone irrespective of caste or religion.

So far, Andhra Pradesh has 895 confirmed COVID-19 cases including 27 deaths.

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