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No Testing Kits, Paediatric Wards Required in Delhi? City’s ‘Zero’ Demand from Centre Amid Covid

The Delhi government’s proposal to the Centre, as part of getting a share of the central component of the Rs 23,000 crore Covid-19 Emergency Response and Health System Preparedness Package (ECRP-2), has cited “zero” requirement of new testing kits, establishing new testing labs, setting up new pediatric oxygen/ICU beds or Liquid Oxygen storage tanks. The ECRP-2 has been drawn up for preparations ahead of a possible their wave.

Delhi had faced a serious shortage of beds and oxygen in the second wave of the Covid pandemic. The ECRP-2 was announced in Parliament last month with a Rs 23,000 crore outlay and the Centre said it would foot 60% of the cost, Rs 14,774 crore, while the states would pitch in with 40% of the outlay.

States were asked to send in their proposals as per central guidelines on where they would spend the central fund. Based on those proposals, the Centre approved Rs 14,774 crore on Friday and has released 50% of that amount to all states.

As per the detailed proposal of all states, that has been accessed by News18, no additional requirement of even a single unit has been cited by Delhi for any new testing kits, labs, pediatric beds, ICU beds, Liquid Oxygen storage tanks or personnel engaged in Covid management. It is not clear if Delhi has decided to procure such items from its 40% component of ECRP-2 or it has made adequate arrangements already. Delhi has been approved an amount of Rs 50.34 crore out of the total central share of Rs 14,774 crore under ECRP-2, while Punjab was approved Rs 138 crore.

Most other states and UTs have cited requirements under these heads like Uttar Pradesh sought 7.4 crore new testing kits, 30 new testing labs, 1,240 ambulances, nearly 4,700 pediatric ICU/Oxygen beds and 4000 ICU beds. Maharashtra, for example, has sought 200 Liquid Oxygen storage tanks.

Even small UTs like Chandigarh cited a requirement of 1.5 lakh testing kits and about 180 new beds, while Andaman and Nicobar Islands cited requirement of six lakh new testing kits, two new testing labs and 75 beds.

Overall, all states together have sought 34 crore new testing kits, about 30,000 new pediatric beds and 961 Oxygen storage tanks.

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