Centre approves COVID-19 Emergency Fund, to be released in three phases
New Delhi : The Central government on Thursday approved a 100 per cent funded-five-year scheme worth Rs 15,000 crores to give strength to the state and national-level health systems as India fights against the novel coronavirus pandemic.
The "COVID-19 Emergency Response and Health System Preparedness Package" will be implemented in three phases - from January 2020 to June 2020, from July 2020 to March 2021 and from April 2021 to March 2024. This fund will be divided among all states and union territories.
The services which will be funded under the scheme would be the development of dedicated COVID-19 hospitals, ICUs (intensive care unit) and supply of oxygen in medical centres.
"With the objective of emergency COVID-19 response, (a fund has been set up for) strengthening national and state health systems to support prevention and preparedness, procurement of essential medical equipment, consumables and drugs and strengthening of surveillance activities, including setting up laboratories and bio-security preparedness," a circular signed by the Director of the National Health Mission said.
Activities listed under the first phase also include disinfection of hospitals and government ambulances, as well as purchase of PPE (personal protection equipment) and N-95 face masks.
Since past couple of days it was seen that the states were seeing a shortage a fund, resulting in slashing the salaries of government employees and ministers.
Meanwhile, the World Bank has approved $1 billion in emergency funds for India. The funds, the financial agency said, should be used to "support better screening, contact tracing and laboratory diagnostics" among other expenditures.