‘Centre’s financial package, amounting to just 0.7% of GDP, is inadequate’
All States are in financial distress as revenues have stopped and public healthcare expenditure has increased manifold, says the Kerala Chief Minister
- States with their limited resources will have to shoulder the greater burden of economic crisis that will follow COVID-19, Kerala plans to open up the construction sector in the non-hotspot areas to help migrant workers earn a living during the lockdown.
- The State administration, socio-political and voluntary organisations and the general public at large are jointly taking on this menace. The detection of cases, we declared a ‘State calamity warning’ and over 3,000 contacts of these patients were placed under surveillance. We managed to do contact tracing well.
- Till date (as on April 16), there have been a total of 387 confirmed cases of COVID-19 infection in Kerala and 167 patients are currently under treatment in various hospitals across the State.
- Kerala’s inalienable strength is our excellent social infrastructure built over an extended period of time. When this government assumed office in 2016, we constituted four missions to address Kerala’s new generation problems.
- One of the four, “Aardram” mission, is to improve our public health sector to global standards. We already converted 170 primary health centres to Family Health Centres, with more facilities.
- It is quite natural that they want to join their families in this hour of crisis. The biggest hardship these workers face is transport lockdown, which prevents them from reaching home.
- As part of our relaxation, we are going to permit construction activities in non-hotspot zones with appropriate safeguards. This should ensure that most of the guest workers are engaged and provided means for livelihood.
- The government also has decided that guest workers should be engaged in cleaning up the public places and waterbodies like wells, ponds etc.
- This is an unprecedented situation and it is difficult to gauge the exact nature of the impact at this juncture. The economy will be crippled, millions of job losses and crores of people adversely affected.
- The suspension of the MP’s Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS) for two years would further hit us as these funds become essential for funding COVID-19 related activities and development works.
- Few of our MPs had announced their intention in procuring PPE, testing kits and other medical equipment using their MPLADS but now we stand to lose them. The MPLADS fund is for the people of the MP’s constituency and not for the Central Government’s fundraising.
- All States are in financial distress as revenues have stopped and the public healthcare expenditure has increased manifold to contain the outbreak.
- In this difficult scenario, we will have to borrow from the open market to continue the work and also to ensure that there is no break in our efforts due to lack of funds. Therefore, permission may be granted to State Governments to issue special Pandemic Relief Bonds.