To tide over the crisis brought about by the second wave of the coronavirus, the Kerala government announced a ₹ 20,000 crore package. The state's Finance Minister, K N Balagopal, presented the Budget on Friday, June 4.
The minister said that the thrust of the new Budget would be to ensure health and food for all. The government also set aside ₹ 1,000 crores to provide free vaccination to all above the age of 18. A vaccine research centre will be set up in Kerala. A project for vaccine research and manufacture will be implemented. The government has allotted ₹ 10 crores for this, reported The Times Of India.
The previous government had allotted Rs 20,000 crore, which had been fully utilised to face the pandemic, said Balagopal. "A second COVID-19 package of Rs 20,000 crore has been announced now," the finance minister said.
Six-Point Programme To Tackle COVID
Balagopal announced a six-point programme to tackle the pandemic. Through the Rs 20,000 crore package, Rs 2,800 crore will be spent towards facing the health emergency situation, Rs. 8900 crore for disbursing money directly to those who are in crisis due to the loss of livelihood, and Rs 8,300 crore towards interest subsidy for loans provided for economic rejuvenation.
The six-point programme includes :
•Equipping all CHCs, taluk and district hospitals with 10 isolation beds. As per estimates, Rs.1.75 crore will be needed for the setting up of new wards and Rs.1.25 crore for the renovation of old buildings. Around Rs. 636.5 crores will be needed for this.
•Mecial colleges to have special blocks to deal with epidemics. This year Rs 50 crore will be earmarked to set up isolation blocks in Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode Medical Colleges.
•Enhacement of bed strength in pediatric ICYS
• Setting up of an oxygen plant with a capacity of 150 metric tonnes
•Setting up a centre of excellence along the lines of the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention in the state.
• Vaccinating those above 18 years of age. ₹1,000 crore has been set aside for this, and ₹ 500 crores has been set aside for the purchase of allied equipment related to vaccination.
Additionally, an allocation of ₹ 5 crore was made for protecting children orphaned by the pandemic.