Tamil Nadu has spent around Rs 6,650 crore in its measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 pandemic in the state, Chief Minister K Palaniswami said on Saturday.
The government has appointed around 1,800 new doctors and 7,000 nurses in its measures to contain the spread of the virus, Palaniswami said, after unfurling the tricolor at Fort St George on the occasion of the 74th Independence Day celebrations for the fourth time.
Noting that 1.29 lakh beds were already set up to serve COVID-19 patients across the state, he said, special focus was being given to enhance the facility with beds equipped with oxygen supply to the patients. "Till date, Amma government (AIADMK supremo late J Jayalalithaa who is fondly called Amma meaning mother) using its State finance resources has spent Rs 6,650 crore," Palaniswami said.
The chief minister said the government was purchasing modern life saving medicines to treat COVID-19 patients and added that COVID-19 testing equipment, N-95 masks, CT scan and X-ray machines were also procured and distributed to hospitals and field workers 'sufficiently'.
"There is a sufficient amount of the products.Patients are also given siddha treatment," he said.
Listing some of the initiatives taken by his government in its measures to contain the pandemic, Palaniswami said, till date 4.18 lakh migrant workers have been sent to their respective states while 64,661 Tamils who were living overseas were also brought back to the state under the Vande Bharat mission.
The government was also engaged in free distribution of reusable masks at corporations, panchayats and rural panchayats, he said, and claimed that Tamil Nadu was the only state to distribute rice, sugar, dhal free of cost besides Rs 1,000 cash assistance to people during the COVID-19 enforced lockdown.
During the lockdown around eight lakh people received free food from government operated Amma Canteens and also during special camps, he said. Palaniswami said treatment of COVID-19 was added under the Chief Minister's Health Insurance scheme thereby benefiting the poor and downtrodden.
The treatment costs would be borne by the exchequer he said and pointed out that government employees and pensioners were also added in the scheme. Palaniswami, who gave away awards to frontline workers on the occasion, said he was happy to recognise their efforts which include doctors, nurses, revenue department, police, fire and rescue services, and other government employees for doing selfless service during the pandemic situation.
"Amma's government will win the battle against this pandemic with the support of people," he said. On the economy front, Palaniswami said Tamil Nadu has signed 41 new memorandums of understanding attracting investments worth Rs 30,667 crore that will generate 67,212 new jobs. "To address the issues faced by the micro, small and medium enterprises, Rs 7,043 crore of loans have been sanctioned..," he said.
He said due to the efforts made by his government, Tamil Nadu was ranked No 1 by Mumbai-based Projects Today in attracting new investments even during the pandemic period April-June 2020.
The Chief Minister also announced an increase of pension to the families of freedom fighters from the existing Rs 16,000 to Rs 17,000. Special allowance distributed to kin of freedom fighters would be hiked to Rs 8,500 from current Rs 8,000.
The Independence Day celebrations remained subdued in the State due to the COVID-19 situation and government had urged people not to visit the venue personally as the programme would go live on Television and radio. The Centre had advised the state governments to hold the celebrations with adequate COVID-19 precautions.