A day after the induction of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s new Cabinet, an emergency response package worth ₹ 23,123 crore to tackle the coronavirus pandemic was announced on Thursday. The decision came after the first meeting of the PM with his council of ministers.
Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya in his first briefing as Union health minister announced that the Centre and states would contribute Rs 15,000 crore and Rs 8,000 crore respectively to the emergency response package. “Centre and state to implement Covid package together,” Mandaviya said. In one of its-first-kind, a provision has been made for telemedicine / teleconsultation.
“The first Covid package was delivered in April 2020. But, this package has been brought in the wake of the second wave,” he added.
As a part of its preparedness plan for the possible third wave of coronavirus pandemic, the Centre is planning to set up 8,338 Covid-dedicated health Centres.
Keeping in mind the oxygen deficit and shortage of ICU beds, which hit the country in the second wave of coronavirus, the Centre on Thursday announced the addition of 8,338 Covid-dedicated health Centres and 4,17,396 oxygen-supported beds. “8,338 Covid-dedicated health Centres, 4,17,396 oxygen supported beds, 20,000 new ICU beds will be added,” the Health minister said.
The Centre has also announced a package to help prevent the shortage of critical medicines.
Mandaviya also said that the impact of Covid on kids was also discussed. “Provision for creation of pediatric units in 736 districts has been made. The special package will include provision for making field hospitals for adults and children both.”
The Modi government also announced a host of new decisions concerning farmers and the agriculture sector.
Addressing a presser, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said that Rs 1 lakh crore fund has been approved for farmers through APMCs. The move will also strengthen mandis.
In order to increase Coconut farming, the government said it is going to amend the Coconut Board Act.
"The Coconut Board president will be a non-official person. He will be from the farmers' community, who knows and understand the work of the field," Narendra Singh Tomar said.
The Agriculture Minister once again reiterated that there will be no impact on Mandis (APMCs) once the new farm laws are implemented, in fact the government is taking steps to further strengthen them.
"APMC will not end. Even after the implementation of the new farm laws, the mandis will be provided with resources worth crores, which will strengthen them," he said.
"I want to tell people associated with the farmers' movement that the Government of India has tried to do what it has said. The markets will not end but will be strengthened," Tomar said.