The Telangana government on Saturday decided to extend the lockdown in the state till April 30 to contain the spread of COVID-19. Noting that the state shares a long border with Maharashtra, where the virus spread is rapid, Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao said tough steps are needed to ensure that Telangana is protected.
The state cabinet decided to continue the lockdown in the state till April 30. It will definitely be implemented in a tough manner, Rao told reporters on Saturday night.
Appealing to the people to cooperate with the government in the fight against the deadly disease, he said there could be a possibility of lifting the lockdown after April 30 in a phased manner if things improve.
If not fully, at least, we may get a situation to lift in a phased manner and move ahead. Therefore, I request all to cooperate, Rao said.
Referring to the concerns of students with regard to annual exams, he said a decision would be taken about class 10 exams, which came to a halt midway.
The cabinet has decided to promote students of class 1 to 9 to the next class, the chief minister said.
According to a media bulletin on COVID-19, two fresh deaths and 16 positive cases were reported in the state on Saturday.
With two fresh deaths, the death toll due to coronavirus rose to 14 in the state.
The number of active positive cases in the state mounted to 393 after the addition of 16 new cases on Saturday, the bulletin said.
Fifty-one people were cured/discharged from hospitals on Saturday. With this, the number of people discharged went up to 96.
Observing that there is a fall in revenues of both the state and central governments against the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic, Rao said a policy of Quantitative Easing (QE), which is followed all over the world, is the only way to deal with the situation.
Explaining the issue, he said if funds are pumped into the society, there is a possibility of getting some relief and reviving the system.
There are demands made to the government for support from different sections, he said.
Rao said he explained the issue in detail to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a video conference.
During the lockdown, the chief minister said the food processing industry should be allowed to function to ensure that farmers are not put to losses and that there was no difficulty in supply of essential commodities, an official release, issued earlier in the day, quoted him as saying.
Rao also urged Modi to increase the FRBM (Fiscal Responsibility and Budgetary Management) limit to five per cent from the existing three.
He suggested that a task force with the prime minister as chairman and cabinet ministers as members be set up to come out with an action plan on helping farmers and the policy to be implemented on the economic situation.
“To counter (economic crisis) this we need a strategic economic policy. RBI should implement quantitative easing policy. This is called Helicopter Money. This will facilitate the states and financial institutions to accrue funds. We can come out of the financial crisis. Release 5 percent of funds from the GDP through Quantitative easing Policy, he suggested.
Bring a policy by which farmers would pay half the wages for labourers and the other half would be from the MGNREGA funds. With this, we will be able to support farmers during difficult times, he said.
He lauded the Centre for extending required support to states in containing the spread of coronavirus.