Tamil Nadu asks Centre to fund 50% of PCR test cost

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Updated: Aug 12, 2020 8:32 AM

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.

As on date, 32,92,958 samples have been tested for Covid-19, out of which 3,02,815 persons were tested positive and 53,099 active cases are in the state currently. (Representational image)

The Tamil Nadu government on Tuesday asked the Centre to fund 50% of the cost of the PCR tests the state has been conducting by dipping into the PM-CARES fund. The state chief minister Edapaddi K Palaniswami while participating the video conference meeting with the prime minister Narendra Modi pointed out that Tamil Nadu is continuing its strategy of aggressive, targeted testing and is currently conducting the maximum number of PCR tests in the country.

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 Rs 5 crore a day. “I request government of India to fund 50% of the cost of the PCR tests from the PM – CARES fund,” he said

As on date, 32,92,958 samples have been tested for Covid-19, out of which 3,02,815 persons were tested positive and 53,099 active cases are in the state currently. A total of 2, 44,675 patients have recovered, which works out to a recovery rate of 80.8%, one of the highest in the country.

Asking the Centre to release the GST compensation for April-June, 2020 early, the chief minister said that as the state had already fully exhausted the State Disaster Response and Mitigation Fund, an ad-hoc grant of Rs 1,000 crore may be released from NDRF immediately to fight the pandemic. Releasing pending CMR subsidy of 1,321 crore rupees at this time, will facilitate paddy procurement, he said.

The state has received Rs 512.64 crore from the Centre in two tranches under the Emergency Response and Health Systems Preparedness package out of an envelope of Rs 712.64 crore allotted to Tamil Nadu. Palaniswami requested that this package for the Tamil Nadu may be stepped up to Rs 3,000 crore. Since both central and state tax revenue will fall short of the budget estimates, to make up for the shortfall, Tamil

Nadu may be allocated Rs 9,000 crore special grant which will go into combating the Covid and its after effects on the state’s economy.

Tamil Nadu government has also demanded that SIDBI provide at least Rs 1,000 crore as refinance facility to Tamil Nadu Industrial Investment Corporation Ltd from the RBI special packages. This will help in reviving the MSME industries in Tamil Nadu.

Palaniswami also sought a relief package to ease the immediate burden on the power sector, which will help distressed Discoms. He urged the PM to instruct the ministry concerned to remove the requirements for the power sector reform and also to allow greater latitude to states in implementing the reform agenda.

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