Andhra Pradesh government has taken effective steps in containing the spread of COVID-19 and it stands ahead of other states in the number of tests conducted so far, Governor Biswa Bhusan Harichandan said on Tuesday.
In his address to both the Houses of the state legislature on the first day of the budget session, he claimed that various measures taken by the government have helped Andhra Pradesh achieve a low mortality rate, a low positivity rate and a much higher recovery rate than most of the states.
The Governor noted that from just one lab the government increased the number of testing labs to 13. About 15,000 tests are being conducted per day and it tops the national average among the states by conducting over 5.5 lakh tests and more than 10,000 tests per million.
The mortality rate of the state is much lower than that of the national average and recovery rate is higher than the national average, he said.
Amid unprecedented measures, the budget session began on Tuesday with the Governor addressing both the Houses through video conferencing from Raj Bhavan.
“There are five dedicated COVID-19 hospitals and 65 hospitals in districts earmarked as dedicated COVID-19 facilities. We have 38,000 isolation beds, 15,000 equipped with oxygen supply and 5,400 ICU beds of which 1,300 have ventilator facility,” he said.
About 24,000 doctors and 24,500 paramedical staff are working round the clock in affected areas.
He claimed that APSRTC buses and Shramik special trains were utilized to transport over 3.2 lakh stranded workers to their homes, both in AP and in other states, free of cost.
“The government firmly believes that we have to live with Corona in the coming days and have opened up the economy keeping the safety norms as the wheels of the economy have to roll on,” he added.
Harichandan claimed that the government has done exceptionally well in social justice and bringing welfare schemes to the intended sections, brought in sweeping reforms in administration, improved the health care system manifold, instilled confidence among farmers, and has taken measures to revamp schools and hospitals.
The government spent Rs 42,000 crore benefitting 3.98 crore people under various schemes during the year.
The Governor said that the government fulfilled 90 per cent of the promises made in the manifesto in the first year itself and it was taking the state on the welfare path.
He said the state’s economy showed tremendous resilience within the context of a global slowdown, even in pre-COVID-19 times. The state has registered an economic growth rate of 8.16 per cent in 2019-20. This was above the national average of 5 per cent.
Services sector registered the highest growth rate of 9.1 per cent, followed by agriculture and allied sectors at 8 per cent and industry at 5 per cent.
The per capita income, measured at current prices, increased by more than 12 per cent from Rs 1,51,173 in 2018-19 to Rs 1,69,519 in 2019-20.
The government turned a new leaf in ushering in unprecedented reforms and rolling out the welfare carpet to doorsteps of the deprived sections by empowering them economically, politically and socially.
“We have put in place an impeccable delivery mechanism of welfare schemes in the form of village and ward secretariats.”
He said the concept not only redefined and gave a new look to villages but also provided four lakh jobs -2.65 lakh volunteers and 1.35 lakh secretariat staff
He claimed that the socio-economic ecosystem of the villages is changing. “What you see on entering a village is a secretariat where 541 different services with timelines for each service from ration card onwards will be available.”
The Governor said the government was striving to operationalize Visakhapatnam-Chennai Industrial Corridor and Chennai-Bengaluru Industrial Corridor. This will strengthen connectivity and existing industries such as textiles, pharma, food processing and also allow for setting up of new ones.
It also expedited construction of Bhogapuram international airport in Vizianagaram and completion of airport at Orvakallu, Kurnool. The government has already entered into Rs 2,300 crore partnership agreement with GMR Airports Limited to develop the Bhogapuram airport.
Stating that Andhra Pradesh has the second longest coast, stretching 974 kms, the Governor said the government sees an opportunity to transform our state into a maritime trading hub for South East Asia.
“We intend to strengthen six ports and take up construction of three new ports at Ramayapatnam, Machilipatnam and Bhavanapadu. Eight fishing harbours will be constructed in three years at a cost of Rs 3,200 crore,” he added.