Kerala reiterates demand to Centre in increasing the borrowing limit
Thiruvananthapuram, May 15: Kerala Chief Minister, Shri Pinarayi Vijayan today repeated the demand of the State Government to increase its borrowing limit from the current 3% to 5%. “Because of the lockdown, there has been a drastic fall in the revenue collection and to overcome the financial constraints, we need a hike in the borrowing limit. The Central Government has recently increased its borrowing limit to 5.5% but the State’s limit is still at 3%. Despite repeated requests, the Centre has not bothered to increase the borrowing limit. It is not in line with the basic principles of a Federal system”, he said.
The Chief Minister also said there is nothing new in the announcement of the Union Finance Minister’s allocation of more money to the states for the welfare of workers working in other states. The amount allocated to the Disaster Relief Fund is just a share of the Centre. The 15th Finance Commission had allocated a central share of Rs 314 crores to Kerala but the State has only half of it, Rs 157 crores.
“We have asked the Prime Minister to allow special grants to the states in the context of Covid situation and make this an additional consideration for inclusion in the Second Report of the 15th Finance Commission. It is inappropriate to portray the central contribution to the Disaster Relief Fund as help for Covid19 prevention”, he added.
From the Disaster Relief Fund, the State Government has already given Rs.17 crores to District Collectors for relief work and Rs.15 crores to the Health Department for buying medical equipment. As per the norms, only 25% of the state’s outlay can be spent on relief work and 10% on purchasing equipment. Only this much can be used from SDRF amount. The state is using budgetary amounts to distribute welfare pensions.
Special trains to bring back stranded Keralites from eight States
The Chief Minister today announced that the Railways have agreed to arrange trains from eight states to Kerala to bring back the stranded Malayalees. Railways have also announced that the Bengaluru-Thiruvananthapuram Island Express is scheduled to operate daily. It is trying to make it a non-AC train.
Meanwhile, five states have granted approval for the return of the migrant labourers from Kerala. 28 trains will be sent to West Bengal from May 18 to June 14.
“There is growing concern among the Malayalee students in Delhi that there is no special train to Kerala from there. It is not practical for these students to book online for the special AC trains through IRCTC and moreover, they cannot afford the AC train fare. In this scenario, we are trying to arrange the transport of the students by non-AC trains The helpdesk in Delhi is coordinating the efforts. We will be able to announce the details of these special trains in a day or two”, he added.
Kerala Covid-19 Tracker
16 new cases today, total 80 patients under treatment
Thiruvananthapuram, May 15: 16 new cases of Covid-19 were confirmed in Kerala today. Five persons from Wayanad district, four in Malappuram district, two each from Alappuzha and Kozhikode districts, and one each in Kollam, Palakkad and Kasargod districts are those who have tested positive.
Seven of them have come back from overseas – four from UAE, two from Kuwait and one from Saudi Arabia. Six have returned from other States – four from Tamil Nadu and two from Maharashtra. Three cases have got infected through primary contact.
Meanwhile, no patient under treatment for Coronavirus has recovered today. The total number of Covid-19 cases in the State is 576 and 80 patients are currently under treatment in different hospitals with Wayanad district having the maximum of 19 patients.
48,825 persons are presently under surveillance in different districts across the State now. Out of these, 48,287 are quarantined at their homes and 538 are under isolation in hospitals. 122 persons were hospitalised today, the highest number being 36 in Malappuram district followed by 17 in Kozhikode district and 16 in Kasargod district.
Till date, 42,201 samples have been sent for testing and 40,639 samples have been confirmed with no infection. As part of sentinel surveillance of high exposure group, 4,630 samples were collected separately and tested. Of these, 4,424 samples have tested negative.
As of now, there are 16 hotspots in Kerala
After giving the details about the Covid situation in the State, Chief Minister, Shri Pinarayi Vijayan said, “There is a concern among all with the increase in cases. We should be more careful and reduce the chances of the virus spread by local contact. Social distancing and other safety measures are important and should be followed strictly. Those in quarantine should not move out for any reason. Today, the Police have registered 65 cases against those violating quarantine conditions.