Corona Virus Current Affairs - 2020

Budget Allocation to fight Corona: Odisha, Tamil Nadu allocated funds

The US Government recently allocated 100 billion USD to fight Corona Virus. Following the US, UK had announced 400 billion USD to be allocated for Corona Virus.

Ranked the fifth largest economy in the world with a GDP of 2.94 trillion USD, overtaking UK, India is yet to allocate funds for Corona Virus. However, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare of working hard to contain the spread of the disease. Also, GoI announced that the Rs 4 lakhs is to be provided to families of the victims affected with Corona Virus.

Justification

The Government of India has still not allocated funds as the fiscal deficits are already high. The Union Budget 2019-20 estimated the fiscal deficit to be Rs 7 lakh crore. Also, this year (2019-20) it is expected that the tax collection is to fall short by Rs 2.5 lakh crore (1.2% of the GDP).

Rather, the Union Government has made the state disaster funds available by notifying COVID-19 virus spread as “disaster”. By law, the State Disaster Response Funds can be used only for notified Disasters under Disaster Management Act, 2005.

State Disaster Response Fund

The fund was constituted under Disaster Management Act, 2005. The fund was constituted based on the recommendation of 13th Finance Commission. Every year, the GoI releases these funds based on the recommendation of the Finance Commission. 75% of the funds are shared by the Centre for the states under General Category. For the states under Special Category, 90% of the funds are contributed by the State.

The Ministry of Home Affairs if the sole head in managing these funds. The National Disaster Response Funds are supplemented when there is shortage in the funds allocated to the states.

Funds Allocated

Odisha became the first state in the country to allocated funds to fight against Corona Virus. The Odisha State government has allocated Rs 200 crores to fight against the deadly disease. The Tamil Nadu Government allocated Rs 60 crores.

India in Phase 2 of Corona Virus Pandemic; No Community Transmissions in India

On March 18, 2020, the Indian Council of Medical Research announced that India is in Phase 2 of spread of COVID-19 and that community transmissions have not begun in India

What are the phases of COVID-19 Transmission?

There are four stages of COVID-19 transmission according to the World Health Organization. They are as follows

Phase 1: Travelers

It is first reported among the travelers entering the country. At this stage, the virus is to be controlled by thermal screening and quarantine. In order to contain this, India has suspended visas, imposed travel bans, suspended facilities such as visa free travel to OCI (Overseas Citizen of India) card-holders.

Phase 2: Local

At this stage the virus spreads from the travelers to the local people through direct contact

Phase 3: Community Transmission

At this stage, the virus spreads among the people with no history of travel or with no direct contact with infected persons.

India is containing Community Transmission of the virus by emphasizing social distancing, discouraging public gathering, etc. The countries where community transmission has begun includes Italy, China and South Korea.

Phase 4: Epidemic

Epidemic is a condition where the spread of the disease if more than the expected spread of disease.

ICMR to test for Community Transmission

Though, India is in Phase 2 of the COVID-19 transmission, the ICMR (Indian Council for Medical Research) is to test for community transmission. This is to be done by randomly testing volunteers.

Also, so far 1020 patients reporting influenza and pneumonia were tested for COVID-19 by the ICMR. The samples have tested negative.