CHENNAI: Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami on Wednesday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to disburse an ad-hoc grant of Rs 1,000 crore from the National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF) immediately to fight the pandemic as Tamil Nadu had completely spent the State Disaster Response and Mitigation Fund.
“The Emergency Response and Health Systems Preparedness package should be hiked from Rs 712.64 crore to Rs 3,000 crore. So far, Tamil Nadu has received Rs 511.64 crore from the Centre as part of this package,” Palaniswami said during a video conference with Modi. Pointing out that the State has been using only RT-PCR test, the gold standard to identify affected persons, Palaniswami said, “These tests cost nearly Rs 6.8 crore a day.
I request the Centre to fund at least 50 per cent of the cost of the PCR tests from the PM - CARES fund as Tamil Nadu is facing financial difficulties on incurring such expenses continuously.” On controlling the pandemic, Palaniswami said, “I have personally visited and reviewed the measures in 26 districts, which have proved very effective in controlling the spread of the virus. Farming, food processing, and other industries are almost back to normal across the State,” he added.
Due to effective treatment, the State has maintained a low mortality rate (1.62 per cent), one of the lowest in the country. “As many as 5,02,740 patients have so far recovered, taking the recovery rate to around 90 per cent, one of the highest in the country. The positivity rate has come down from a high of 10.47 per cent in July to 6.2 per cent. As on date, no district has positivity rate above 10 per cent,” he said.
‘Proactive, aggressive approach brought cases down’
Further, Palaniswami said, deaths due to Covid have also reduced from an average of 100 per day to around 70 per day. The average number of fresh cases every day in Chennai has also come down to below 1,000 from around 2,300-levels in June. Giving a detailed account of prevention and control measures undertaken in Tamil Nadu, Palaniswami said, “Orders have been placed for procuring 5.25 crore triple-layer face masks, 48.05 lakh N95 masks, 44.61 lakh PPE kits and 63.25 lakh RT-PCR testing kits.
The proactive and aggressive approach has resulted in a declining trend in fresh cases all over the State.”
He said the 2,000 mini-clinics to be established in the State to cater to the immediate medical needs of the poorest sections of society living in the urban and rural areas is expected to fill the gap in field-level health and consultation services. Further, the eSanjeevani OPD Scheme has been implemented successfully and Tamil Nadu ranks first in the country, with more than 1,26,525 consultations done till date.
After the announcement of a special incentive package, including capital subsidy, interest subvention, etc., to promote manufacture of Covid-related medical equipment and drugs in Tamil Nadu, 50 companies have started production. Following his request to bankers to sanction maximum loans to MSME units, Rs 8,019.51 crore has been sanctioned as a loan to as many as 2,46,125 MSME units so far, thus becoming the leading State in the country to do so, Palaniswami said.
Welcomes farm legislation
Thanking Prime Minister Narendra Modi for enacting three pro-farmers legislation, the Chief Minister said these would go a long way in bringing stability to the agriculture sector. Palaniswami also reiterated his demand for the early release of pending Custom Milled Rice (CMR) subsidy of Rs 1,321 crore to facilitate paddy procurement.