Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao said on Wednesday that the assistance provided by the Centre to the state for handling the COVID-19 situation is next to nothing.
He told the Assembly that whatever the Centre had given for the coronavirus battle is "negligible" and claimed that the state is tackling the situation on its own.
"What the state has got from the Centre is next to nothing," he said while replying to a short discussion on the COVID-19 situation in the state.
Rao asked the Union Ministers to stop making alleged statements about the Centre's aid, saying that they will be the ones who will lose respect by making such claims.
KCR, as Rao is popularly known, said Telangana was given Rs 256 crore under the National Health Mission (NHM) towards the state's share. Another Rs 90 crore was provided, but this too was adjusted against other funds due to the state.
He said that the Centre provided 647 ventilators but not a single one for free as the amount was adjusted under various heads in the Budget.
He said that the Centre also did not accept the state's demands for loan restructuring. The state had demanded a raise in the FRBM limit. The Centre raised the limit but linked it to conditions like implementing power reforms, the Chief Minister said.
The Chief Minister claimed that Telangana effectively handled the pandemic by taking various measures on its own. He said Telangana with a low death rate and high recovery rate is on a better footing than many other states.
Pointing out that the COVID-19 threat has not ended, he appealed to the people to follow all the precautions for their own safety.
KCR said that the biggest lesson for the Centre and the states from COVID-19 is that they should increase health budgets and improve the health infrastructure. He assured the House that his government will enhance the state's allocation for health.
He listed the steps taken by the government for improving the infrastructure during the last five months. Pointing out that there were hardly any ventilators in government hospitals, he said his government procured 700-800 ventilators on its own, arranged 10,000 oxygen-supported patient beds, developed dedicated COVID hospitals, and provided the necessary infrastructure and medicines.
Rejecting the opposition criticism of his government for its handling of the COVID-19 situation, KCR said that in any pandemic more people die of fear than the disease. "The TRS government is trying to ensure that there is no panic among people but the opposition parties are keen only on targeting and maligning the government," he said.
Dismissing the allegation of the opposition Congress and BJP leaders that the state government failed to handle the situation, the Chief Minister pointed out that the death rate in Telangana was lower than many states ruled by their respective parties.
On Congress leader Mallu Bhatti Vikramarka's allegation that the government is not holding any meeting with the opposition parties, KCR said that there was no point in having the meetings when opposition parties attended them with preconceived notions.
"If opposition wants to behave like opposition we have no problem. But if somebody wants to target we have to respond," he said.
Stating that the government is ready to consider all constructive suggestions of the opposition, he announced that the government will consider the Congress leader's proposal for bringing treatment of COVID-19 under the 'Arogyasri' scheme.
KCR also dismissed the criticism from the BJP for not implementing the Ayushman Bharat initiative, saying that the central scheme is inferior to 'Arogyasri'. He claimed that the state scheme has better coverage than Ayushman Bharat.
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