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States can use 50% of disaster relief fund: Modi tells chief ministers

Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Delhi and Punjab account for 63 per cent of the total coronavirus cases in the country

Narendra Modi | Coronavirus Tests | Coronavirus

BS Web Team  |  New Delhi 

Narendra Modi
PM Narendra Modi chairs a high-level virtual meeting with Chief Ministers & Health Ministers

States can now use 50% of their disaster relief funds to manage the coronavirus—the cap of 35% cap is removed, , said Prime Minister in a meeting with seven chief ministers administering states most affected in the pandemic.

"We need to increase our focus on effective testing, tracing, treatment, surveillance and clear messaging,” he said in the video meeting.

“Today, I announce that the states can spend 50 per cent of the SDRF amount on efforts to check the spread of Covid-19. This limit was earlier 35 per cent,” Modi said, referring to the state disaster relief fund.

Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Delhi and Punjab account for 63 per cent of the total cases in the country.

India reported 1,085 additional fatalities from Covid-19 (the disease caused by the coronavirus), bringing its total death toll above 90,000. It also added 83,347 cases for Wednesday. The country trails only the U.S. and Brazil in Covid-19 deaths, while its 5.6 million confirmed cases are surpassed only by the U.S.’s tally of almost 6.9 million infections.

The meeting comes just ahead of the completion of Unlock 4 — the last phase of the unlocking, which will end on September 30. After the country went under a nationwide lockdown on March 25, PM Modi held several virtual meetings with the CMs to discuss the Covid-19 situation.

After a nationwide lockdown to contain the disease started on March 25, Modi held several virtual meetings with chief ministers to discuss the disease and its impact on the economy.

Modi’s meeting this evening comes before the fourth phase of a nationwide unlocking ends on September 30.

India has the fastest rising pandemic curve in the world with the total case tally nearing 5.7 million. Over 17 per cent of its cases, or 968,377 cases, are currently active. With almost 4.5 million people beating the infection, the recovery rate for India is over 81 per cent.

(With inputs from agencies)

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First Published: Wed, September 23 2020. 19:55 IST