Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K. Palaniswami on Wednesday asked the Central government for Rs 4,000 crore to combat the coronavirus pandemic in the state.
In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the text of which was released to the media here, Palaniswami requested special assistance of Rs 4,000 crore and other financial measures be considered expeditiously.
Citing the hit taken by the government revenues due to coronavirus and the additional expenditure, he also requested Modi to relax the fiscal deficit limits of three per cent of Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) for fiscal 2019-20 and 2020-21 as one time measure.
"Further, additional borrowing of 33 per cent above the level permitted for the fiscal year 2019-20 may be allowed for 2020-21 to enable the states to meet the additional expenditure requirements."
Palaniswami said the state needs Rs 3,000 crore for the augmentation and strengthening of the health infrastructure and for essential equipment, medicines and for preventive public health measures at this crucial juncture.
He said Tamil Nadu is vulnerable to coronavirus because of the large number of international passengers who transit through its four international airports and four major ports and as it also adjoins states where the outbreak has been initially more severe.
"Hence, while immediate measures have been taken, we will need to prepare for a significantly higher case load in the coming weeks and months," Palaniswami told Modi.
According to Palaniswami, more resources are needed to face the projected number of cases effectlivey including through the establishment of isolation hospitals, quarantine centres, supply of hospital equipment including hospital beds, ventilators and personal protection equipments (PPE), medicines and testing kits and disinfection equipment and chemicals.
He also said private hospitals also would need to be equipped and their services utilised to treat patients free of cost and extensive sanitation and disinfection measures would need to be undertaken.
According to Palaniswami, Rs 500 crore is needed as special allocation to pay 50 per cent wages for the wage employment lost in the months of March, April and May for the MNREGA scheme.
Another Rs 500 crore is needed towards payment of financial relief package for unorganised sector workers to help them overcome their immediate hardships, he added.