Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Friday sought quick steps by the Centre to expand testing facilities for novel coronavirus, payment of 50 days wages to MGNREGS workers and special economic package for various sectors in view of the crisis caused by COVID-19.
Mr Patnaik put forth these suggestions during a video conference by Prime Minister Narendra Modi with chief ministers of various states to deliberate on COVID-19, which has claimed at least four lives so far in the country.
A CMO official said Mr Patnaik also appreciated several steps taken by the Centre such as restricting international travel, airlifting of Indians from coronavirus-affected countries, he said.
The chief minister said there is a very urgent requirement to scale up free testing facilities, both in the private and public sector.
There is also a need to provide health care personnel with safety equipment, he said.
Demanding financial support for different sectors in view of the COVID-19 outbreak, Mr Patnaik said MGNREGS workers should be paid at least 50 days' wages.
While families covered under the National Food Security Act may be provided with appropriate financial assistance, additional instalments should be given in Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) for farmers, he said.
The chief minister also suggested that the Centre may distribute funds in advance to the states.
Mr Patnaik has extended support to the PM's call for Janta Curfew on March 22 and urged people of the state to respond to it in a positive manner.