COVID expenditure managed from state’s resources, says Meghalaya CM
Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma who is also in charge of the Finance Department said that the state government’s expenditure of COVID was high last year compared to this year and it is being managed from the state’s resources.
He told reporters, “The expenditure has crossed Rs 400 crores, but this time around, the expenditure may not be as high as last time. The reason for that is things were chaotic last year as we had to pay for people coming back, we had to pay for people and doctors staying in the hospitals and hotels, money for labourers, as well as payment for different entrepreneurship programmes”.
Until September last year, the government’s COVID expenditure was Rs 399 crores.
He said that given last year’s experience; it has given the government some idea of how to manage things better and to reduce the cost.
However, Sangma said that the government will not compromise but spend on the health welfare of the people and said that it is not about cutting the costs but rather minimising the expenditures.
The resources are from the taxes the government gets from both the central government and the state’s own resources.
The government has so far spent on vaccines and installation of oxygen plants besides others.
Responding to criticisms in handling the Covid situation, Sangma has urged all political leaders that the time of pandemic is not a time for condemning or finding faults, though there have been shortcomings.
“It is not the time for blame-game but it is a time for positive suggestions,” he said.
Chief Minister Conrad Sangma admitted that there is a shortage of supply of vaccines, though he banked on India’s production of vaccines.
He told reporters that vaccines for the age group of 45 is still going on and is available in all districts, and 80 per cent of the vaccination centers are for the 45 plus age group.
“The vaccination programme is going as planned, of course, there is a large shortage in the supply of vaccines but we are managing with whatever quota we are getting. We hope that in the coming weeks, the production of vaccines will go up,” he said.
Stating that the shortage is huge, he said that the government had received 42,000 shots for the 18-44 age-group, however the state needs 30 lakh vaccines for the 18 plus category.
He said that containment is one of the most important precautionary measures and hoped that the COVID curve will decrease after the lockdown.
(Edited by Christopher Gatphoh)
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