Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for funds and medical devices including ventilators and nasal cannulae to combat coronavirus. The Centre, the Chief Minister also said, should point to the vaccine to be procured and used and issue guidelines in this regard.
Her state, Ms Banerjee said at PM Modi's meeting with Chief Ministers on coronavirus, is short of funds. So far Rs 2,500 crore has been spent to combat coronavirus, but the state only received Rs 125 crore from the Centre, the Chief Minister said at the meeting, sources said.
The Centre, the Chief Minister said, owes the state its share of Goods and Services Tax, which is to the tune of Rs 4,135 crore. Another Rs 53,000 crore is due, she said, on account of other outstandings.
At the meeting, PM Modi pointed out that deaths from the 10 states account for over 80 per cent of the active COVID-19 cases in the country and controlling the virus in these states would ensure the country's victory over the disease. While Maharashtra has the highest number of COVID-19 cases, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh come second and third respectively.
For the first time in two weeks, the daily spike in COVID-19 cases across the country dropped below 55,000. The number of fatalities in the country have also been on the rise.
Ms Banerjee describes the Covid situation in the country as "critical but stable"
Making a passing reference to the "death audit committees" that her government set up early in the pandemic - a move criticised by certain sections -- the Chief Minister said the move was vindicated as it has been found that co-morbidity is an import factor in deaths related to coronavirus.
According to Bengal's data, 89 per cent of Covid deaths in the state were due to comorbidities like diabetes, hypertension, cardiac disease and cancer.
While the Centre, she said, had raised the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management or FRBM limit from 3 per cent to 5 per cent, only 0.5 per cent of the increased 2 per cent is unconditional.