Chennai, Sept 17:
Tamil Nadu Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam on Wednesday presented in the state Assembly,the government’s first Supplementary Estimates of Rs 12,845.20 crore for FY 2020-21, allocating over Rs 9,000 crore towards handling the coronavirus pandemic.
The sum of Rs 12,845.20 crore is much higher compared to the estimates in the previous years as the ‘unusual’ year 2020, which began with the contagion, necessesitated the government to incur substantial additional expenditure, he said.
Of the total sum, about Rs 9,027.08 crore has been provided towards coronavirus control, prevention and relief measures, he said.
“This is an unusual year, since from the beginning of the financial year, we have been severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Hence, the government has had to incur substantial additional expenditure on upgrading health infrastructure, providing health services, paying cash relief doles, providing additional quantities of essential commodities under the Public Distribution System and related administrative costs,” he said.
Panneerselvam holds the Finance portfolio.
As a result, this year’s first supplementary estimates are “larger than in earlier years,” he said.
The supplementary estimates are being presented mainly to obtain the Legislature’s approval for expenditure on “New Service” and “New Instrument of Service” items which were sanctioned since the tabling of Budget Estimates for the year and to enable recoupment to the Contingency Fund for advances made from it.
A sum of Rs 3,359.12 crore to meet expenditure due to provision of commodities free of cost and for meeting expenditure incurred due to additional offtake of items from ration shops, due to the pandemic, is included in the supplementary estimates, Panneerselvam said.
While Rs 3,168.64 crore has been sanctioned by the government from the State Disaster Response Fund to meet expenditure toward cash assistance given to ration card holders and members of various welfare boards to provide assistance during the period, Rs 1,049.56 crore has been provided for various disease control and prevention measures.
A total of Rs 4,218.20 crore is included in the Supplementary Estimates under Relief on account of Natural Calamities.
Among others, an additional Rs 1,109.42 crore for the Tamil Nadu Medical Services Corporation and the Health and Family Welfare departments was made to procure COVID-19 drugs, RTPCR and related testing kits, oxygen supply and ambulance services in Government Medical College Hospitals and other institutions under the control of the Health department.