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Because of funds pending release for several months, salaries could not be paid to staff attending COVID-19 duties in districts, according to PTI.

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy in a meeting with health department officials File Photo
news Coronavirus Thursday, August 12, 2021 - 09:15

The Andhra Pradesh Department of Health, Medical and Family Welfare sent an SOS to Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy on Wednesday, August 11, requesting funds of Rs 428 crore “on an emergency basis" for COVID-19 management, official sources told PTI. In addition, the department also sought immediate release of Rs 1,497.66 crore to meet various requirements, including preparation for the possible third coronavirus wave in the state. The Rs 428 crore emergency release sought was to meet the salaries of staff and medical professionals engaged for COVID-19 duties, procurement of medicines and other essentials and payment of ex-gratia to orphaned children.

That apart, a sum of Rs 1,608 crore has been pending release for several months now because of which even salaries could not be paid to staff attending COVID-19 duties in districts. The pending bills issue, as also the emergency requirement of funds, was brought to the Chief Minister's notice at a high-level review meeting on COVID-19 on Wednesday, official sources told PTI. The bills for payment have been mounting week-on-week as the finance department stopped any releases due to dearth of funds, the sources said.

For salaries of staff engaged in COVID-19 duties in 13 districts, a sum of Rs 73.38 crore has reportedly been pending release for several months. An amount of Rs 3.45 crore has to be paid as ex-gratia to children orphaned by COVID-19 and another Rs 5.55 crore as ex-gratia to district employees. "On August 2, the pending salaries bill in districts was Rs 69.72 crore, which has now gone up to Rs 73.38 crore. Even sanitation workers in hospitals are not being paid salaries," a senior official pointed out.

Speaking to health officials at the review meeting, CM Jagan asked them to focus on vaccinating 18-44 year olds, while prioritising employees, officers and staff with public relations, according to a statement from the Chief Minister’s Office. He also asked officials to set up CCTVs and biometric systems in all government hospitals, and take action against anyone who is absent for three consecutive days. Jagan also asked officials to recruit the required number of doctors and staff over the next three months, and to give incentives for staff to work in tribal areas.

Read: Andhra Pradesh availed Rs 56076 crore loans from various banks since 2019

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