In a bid to brief the people of Tamil Nadu about the nationwide lockdown due to outbreak of COVID-19, Edappadi K Palaniswami, Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu in a televised address on Wednesday, March 25, assured the people that the supply of essential commodities like milk, meat, vegetables, medicine and other provisions will be taken care by the government and people need not to worry.
While addressing the people about the supply of essential commodities the CM also asked the people to practice social distancing even when going out to shop for essential supplies. And, requested the people not to panic over the situation.
Palaniswami said that the 21-day lockdown across the country was “not a vacation”, but a government order for the safety of everyone. Further, the CM asked people not to go out of town and try to stay at home as much as possible.
The CM said, “Those who have arrived from foreign countries should voluntarily come forward to exercise self-quarantine. If they fail to do so, family members, relatives, neighbours can alert local bodies, the Health Department or the police.” Further, the CM briefed people on the importance of washing hands and requested the people to always use handkerchief while sneezing or coughing. Also, he asked people to strictly avoid crowding.
The CM, earlier in the day, urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to provide the state with the financial assistance of Rs 4,000 crore for taking precautionary measures and financial relief measures over the loss caused by the viral outbreak.
As per the fund distribution by the state, funds worth of Rs 3,000 crore were needed for strengthening the health infrastructure and for essential equipment and medicines, while Rs 500 crore will be needed to pay 50 percent wages for the wage employment lost in March, and expected to be lost in upcoming two months. Another Rs 500 crore was needed for providing a relief package for workers in the unorganised sector.
The CM also requested the Centre to relax the fiscal deficit limit of 3 percent of GSDP for fiscal 2019-20 as the state’s revenue has also taken a hit and the expenditure needs had risen significantly. The lockdown for 21 days would add on to the huge strain on the state’s economy, he added.
Also, he requested the Centre to allow an additional borrowing of 33 percent above the level permitted for fiscal 2019-20 so that states can meet their additional expenditure.
Since a large number of industries and businesses, especially MSMEs, faced considerable loss of production, and cash flow was heavily constrained, making it very difficult for them to meet their tax and bank loan interest payments, Mr. Palaniswami sought the rescheduling of bank loan repayments, at least for two quarters, without treating them as NPAs.
Moreover, as the supply of essential commodities have been assured to the people across the country, the CM requested the Centre to supply the food grains available with the FCI to be released at BPL rates to the states.