Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has written a letter to the Centre, urging to consider the COVID-19 pandemic as natural calamity, so that the government can use the state disaster response fund to provide financial assistance to the affected people.
All State Disaster Management Acts have been formed as part of the central disaster management law; hence the state needs the Union government's permission to use the SDRF for helping the pandemic-hit people, a government official said on Thursday.
The chief minister wrote the letter to the Centre on Wednesday to seek its permission, he said.
As of now, flood, lightning incidents, heavy rainfall where there is loss of property or livelihood fall under the category of natural calamity and monetary compensation is provided to the affected people.
“The chief minister wants to use the SDRF for the similar purpose as the coronavirus outbreak has affected the earnings of thousands of people in the state. We need a legal provision to do so, hence the state government has written to the Centre," the official said.
On Wednesday, Maharashtra reported 58,952 fresh coronavirus cases, taking the tally to 35,78,160, while 278 new fatalities pushed the toll to 58,804, the state health department said.
In view of an alarming rise in cases, the state government has announced stricter measures for 15-days which came into force at 8 pm on Wednesday and will remain in operation till 7 am on May 1.