Tamil Nadu

Coronavirus | Fund 50% of COVID-19 test costs from PM-CARES funds, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister requests PM Modi

Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami participating in a virtual meeting of Chief Ministers chaired by Prime Minister Modi

Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami participating in a virtual meeting of Chief Ministers chaired by Prime Minister Modi   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami on Tuesday requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to fund 50% of the cost of COVID-19 PCR tests from the PM–CARES fund. Stating that the State Disaster Response and Mitigation Fund (SDRF) has been exhausted, he reiterated his appeal for an immediate ad-hoc grant of ₹1,000 crore from the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) to fight the pandemic.

The State was continuing with “aggressive, targeted testing” and was conducting the maximum number of PCR tests in India. “Tamil Nadu presently has 130 labs for COVID testing with 61 government and 69 private labs, with an average testing capacity of 65,000 tests per day. These tests cost nearly ₹5 crore a day,” Mr. Palaniswami said while seeking the sharing of costs.

Participating in a virtual meeting of Chief Ministers chaired by Mr. Modi, he also requested the Centre to provide funds for procuring high-end ventilators.

The Centre was supplying ventilators to States through the PM-CARES fund and experts treating critically ill COVID-19 patients have requested for a higher degree of ventilatory care, he said.

Sufficient funds for procurement of consumables have been sanctioned from the SDRF and the State budget. The government has placed orders for 5.25 crore triple-layer face masks, 48.05 lakh N-95 masks, 41.3 lakh PPE kits and 43.26 lakh RT-PCR testing kits.

The State was slowly relaxing the lockdown restrictions as per the Centre’s guidelines, to revive economic activities, the CM said.

Citing statistics, he said the State’s case mortality rate of 1.6% was among the lowest in India. As on date, 2,44,675 patients have recovered, i.e. a recovery rate of 80.8%, one of the highest in the country.

The capacity of COVID-19 Hospitals, COVID-19 Health Centres and COVID-19 Care Centres across Tamil Nadu has been increased to 1,29,024 beds and 4,147 ventilators are available, including 630 in the private sector.

The State has also ensured the return of nearly 3.77 lakh migrant labourers in 253 trains bearing the entire cost. “As on date, we have received 60,875 passengers under Vande Bharat and Samudra Setu missions, as well as on private flights,” he said.

Besides, 2,751 doctors, 6,893 staff nurses, 1058 lab technicians, 334 health inspectors, 2,751 multi-purpose health workers and 2,000 paramedical workers have been drafted into service.

Demands reiterated by CM Palaniswami to PM Modi

  • Allocate ₹9,000 crore special grant to make up for the shortfall, and to combat COVID-19 and its after-effects on the State’s economy
  • Increase Emergency Response and Health Systems Preparedness package to ₹3,000 crore. Tamil Nadu has received ₹512.64 crore
  • Release GST compensation for April-June early
  • Release pending CMR subsidy of ₹1,321 crore to facilitate paddy procurement
  • Announce relief package to ease immediate burden on power sector and help distressed discoms
  • Remove requirements for power sector reform; allow greater latitude to States in implementing reform
  • Instruct SIDBI to provide at least ₹1,000 crore as refinance facility to TIICL from RBI special packages to revive MSMEs.
  • Implement special loan product for COVID-19 for SHGs by all banks with enhanced loan amount of at least ₹2 lakh per group.
  • A fresh demand: Give toor dal instead of whole channa dal for free distribution with rice in PDS outlets till November
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Printable version | Sep 23, 2020 5:55:41 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/fund-50-of-covid-19-test-costs-from-pm-cares-funds-tamil-nadu-chief-minister-requests-pm-modi/article32324495.ece

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