The government of Andhra Pradesh is to offer financial assistance of 5,000 rupees (US$65) to religious service leaders associated with all mosques, temples and churches.
State Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy announced the aid package on April 22 during a meeting with Muslim leaders on measures being taken by the government to fight the coronavirus outbreak.
“Indeed, it is good 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,” Father Anthoniraj Thumma, executive secretary of the Federation of Telugu Churches, told UCA News.
“This is a one-time grant to cope with the Covid-19 pandemic. It is proposed to be granted not only to pastors but also other religious service renderers such as Hindu archakas and Muslim imams.
“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.”