Governor Biswa Bhusan Harichandan has saluted the frontline workers for their efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19.
“About 40% of India’s total COVID-19 deaths have occurred during the second wave of the pandemic,” Mr. Harichandan said during his virtual address to the joint session of the A.P. State Legislature before the start of the Budget session.
The Governor said that the Andhra Pradesh government had shown great commitment in handling the pandemic during the first wave, and continued to do so in the second wave.
Stating that the government had established 632 COVID hospitals with a total bed capacity of 46,056 and recruited 18,270 additional staff for handling the crisis. The government also brought 50% of beds in the private hospitals under the purview of the Aarogyasri scheme, he said.
“Testing has been scaled up. Out of 1.80 crore samples tested so far, 14.54 lakh people tested positive. The tests done per million is 3.3 lakh against the national average of 2.2 lakh,” he said.
The government had also shown its commitment in ensuring sufficient oxygen supplies by procuring cryogenic tankers from overseas.
“The State has been allotted 590 tonnes of oxygen per day, which it is utilising to the full,” he added.
Referring to the vaccination programme, he said, against the total population of 1.48 crore people covering health and frontline workers, and those above the age of 45, the first dose of vaccine had been administered to 53.28 lakh people and the second dose to 21.64 lakh people.
The Governor also praised the steps taken for economic revival.
The advance estimates of the State’s economy for the year 2020-21 projected an overall growth rate of 1.58% against the nation’s growth rate of (-) 3.8% at current prices. The per capita income of the State moved up by 1.03% from ₹1.68 lakh in 2019-20 to ₹1.70 lakh in 2020-21.
While stressing that the government had shown its commitment in fulfilling all promises and launching a string of welfare schemes, the Governor said that despite the adverse impact of COVID-19 on the economy, the government remained steadfast in its vow of ensuring inclusive governance and unwavering support to the welfare of the farmers, women, underprivileged, marginalised and vulnerable groups.
Navaratnalu, a unique holistic approach, had significantly improved the lives of the citizens, he said.
“Implementation of welfare programmes through the village/ ward secretariat and the volunteer system has facilitated disbursal of financial assistance directly into the bank accounts of beneficiaries without leakages,” he said.
The government had also announced the welfare calendar for the year 2021-22, enabling advance planning for delivery of all schemes, thereby exhaustively covering all the eligible beneficiaries.
Quoting Mahatma Gandhi, the Governor said positive thoughts would enable people to speak positive words, and ultimately lead them to keep positive values.
The Governor ended his speech by appealing to the citizens to safeguard themselves from the COVID-19 by taking necessary safety measures.