August 14, 2021
MUMBAI: The cash-starved state government has spent Rs 1,500 crore on tackling Covid-19 from April 1, 2020, to August 12, 2021. This does not include the expenses incurred by the health department and BMC.
“We have utilised a huge tranche from the State Disaster Response Fund. So far, we have used Rs 1,500 crore and we will require more... The state government has imposed a 40% cut on the statebudget to mobilise funds to fight Covid,” a senior official told TOI. The Centre contributes 75% of SDRF every year and use is audited by the CAG.
SDRF is to be used to provide for temporary accommodation, food, clothing and medical care for people in quarantine camps or for cluster containment, the cost of consumables for sample collection, and support for checking and contact tracing.
SDRF used to boost med infra, pay for PPE, Q hubs
An estimated Rs 1,000 crore was spent from the SDRF in the state in the last financial year, said a senior government official. The highest spends have been of Rs 255 crore for the Pune region, Rs 236 crore for Konkan, Rs 194 crore for Aurangabad and Rs 145 crore for Nagpur. In the current financial year till August 12, out of nearly Rs 500 crore, the highest amount of Rs 118 crore has gone to the Aurangabad region. Some of the other expenses have been of Rs 44 crore for Nashik, Rs 91 crore for Pune, Rs 89 crore for Konkan, Rs 44 crore for the Nashik region, Rs 26 crore for Amravati and Rs 87 crore for the Nagpur region.
Thy funds have largely been used for thermal scanners, ventilators, air purifiers, oxygen generation and storage plants, strengthening ambulance services, setting up of containment zones, Covid hospitals and quarantine centres and consumables in the government hospitals. They also covered setting up of additional testing laboratories, cost of personal protection equipment for healthcare, municipal, police and fire authorities. “A high-level committee under the SDRF has prescribed rules for utilisation of funds and accordingly, we have spent funds for tackling the pandemic situation,” said the official.
Chief minister Uddhav Thackeray has told officials funds will not be a problem in tackling the pandemic situation. “District administrations have been given full powers to utilise funds for providing adequate infrastructure,” the official said.
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Source : timesofindia.indiatimes.com