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Containing COVID virus

  • IASbaba
  • August 13, 2020
  • 0
UPSC Articles
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Containing COVID virus

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains II – Govt policies and initiatives; Social/Health issue; Governance 

Context: 

  • PM flagged the need for more testing, tracing in 10 affected States in order to keep the fatality rate from COVID-19 in India to below 1%.  
  • He stressed that 10 States which account for 81% of the cases and 82% of the fatalities need to step up testing, contact tracing within 72 hours of testing and isolation of those infected. 

10 States — West Bengal, Gujarat, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Punjab — are with high COVID-19 levels. 

Measures/Suggestions to contain COVID  

  • Some States asked the Centre to lift the current cap of 35% on COVID-19 related expenditure on State Disaster Relief Fund (SDRF) as it was not sufficient to meet current requirements. 
  • Some States appealed for an immediate ad hoc grant of Rs. 1,000 crore from the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) to fight the pandemic 
  • Some appealed to the Centre to make one year of government service mandatory for fresh medical graduates and postgraduates so that their services can be utilised in fighting COVID-19.  
  • Some appealed to initiate measures for immediate commencement of final year medical and paramedical courses so that students could be used in COVID-19 services in areas outside of the designated hospitals. 
  • Doubling of medical seats 
  • Fund 50% of RT-PCR tests using PM-CARES  

Important value additions: 

About State Disaster Relief Fund (SDRF) 

  • SDRF has been constituted under the Disaster Management Act, 2005. 
  • It is the primary fund available with the State governments for responses to notified disasters to meet expenditure for providing immediate relief. 
  • The Centre contributes 75% of the SDRF allocation for general category States and Union Territories and 90% for special category States and Union Territories (northeastern States, Sikkim, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir). 
  • The annual Central contribution is released in two equal installments as per the recommendation of the Finance Commission. 
  • Disaster (s) covered under SDRF: Cyclone, drought, earthquake, fire, flood, tsunami, hailstorm, landslide, avalanche, cloudburst, pest attack, frost and cold waves. 
  • A State Government may use up to 10% of the funds available under the SDRF for providing immediate relief to the victims of natural disasters that they consider to be ‘disasters’ within the local context in the State and which are not included in the notified list of disasters of the Ministry of Home Affairs. 

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