Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma defended his government’s financial record when it came to combating the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic in the state during a discussion in the Assembly today.
The CM said that the state made a conscious decision to provide the best possible care and support to its citizens during the early days of the crisis brought on by the virus.
“Despite falling tax collections and the shortage of resources, we prioritised the fight against Covid and invested resources in a timely manner,” Sangma said in his reply to a discussion initiated by Congress MLA from Mawlai, Process T Sawkmie.
Highlighting the positives, the Chief Minister said that Meghalaya had the lowest number of Covid cases of any state until June and is still ranked among the lowest in the country. More than two lakh coronavirus tests have so far been conducted, putting Meghalaya among the top states when it comes to number of tests conducted per million of population.
The fatality rate from Covid-19, at 0.91 percent, puts the state among the few that are below one percent, he added.
“In these extraordinary times of the pandemic, we rose to the occasion and did the thing that every responsive government has to do – prioritise the lives, health and wellbeing of all the citizens affected by Covid and of those whose lives have been disrupted by the lockdown,” Sangma said.
The expenditure by the Health Department, including Directorate of Health Services and National Health Mission, was Rs 271.2 crore, he said, adding that the Revenue and Disaster Management (SDRF) spent Rs 23.7 crore, Revenue and Disaster Management (under PM CARES) Rs 3.5 crore, Chief Minister’s Relief Fund Rs 7.4 crore, Chief Minister’s Special Grant Rs 14.7 crore, the Labour Department Rs 51 crore, Mining and Geology Department (DMF) Rs 8.9 crore, Community and Rural Development and Urban Affairs (SRWP & SUWP) Rs 15.1 crore and Urban Affairs Rs 3.5 crore.
He added that Rs 103.8 crore was funded by tapping into various sources in addition to the state government’s own sources.
The Chief Minister informed that out of the Rs 399 crore of expenditure incurred, bills of Rs 251 crore have been cleared with Rs 148 crore in liabilities remaining.
Sangma also stated that provision kits consisting of essential items like food grains, pulses and toiletries were provided for those undergoing home quarantine. A total of 32,555 kits were distributed throughout the state at a cost to the exchequer of Rs 6.11 crore.