The Odisha Government on Friday requested the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to ensure availability of sufficient cash in currency chests, bank branches and ATMs across the state to meet the exigencies in view of COVID-19.
Special Secretary-cum DIF, Government of Odisha, wrote a letter to Regional Director RBI in this regard.
The letter said, "In the wake of the outbreak of coronavirus epidemic, the state government has been taking many proactive steps in preventive healthcare and social protection measures including the establishment of isolation centres, release of old age pension in advance, payment of exgratia etc. It will also involve substantial disbursement from the treasuries. Since it is a very critical time, the public may also require a lot more cash in hand."
"Keeping in view, the above facts it is requested to make available sufficient cash in currency chests and bank branches/ATM counters across the state to meet exigencies," the letter added.
Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Friday highlighted the urgent need for more testing facilities and requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a video conference to scale up both private and public testing facilities and make them free of cost.
He also sought at least 50 days of wages for MGNREGS workers, additional instalments in PM Kisan for Farmers and sought the advance release of funds to the States.
Patnaik praised the initiatives such as restriction on international travel, airlifting Indians from affected areas by the Central government.
The total number of COVID-19 cases in India has now climbed up to 223, including 32 foreigners, the Union Health Ministry said on Friday.
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