Tamil Nadu has emerged from elections with a new DMK government at the helm. Recently sworn in as the chief minister, MK Stalin has his task cut out with the state featuring among the top 10 in terms of the total COVID case load as well as active cases.
A day after being sworn, the chief minister announced Rs 4,000 in cash as relief for families who hold ration cards and are affected by COVID. He also said the state will bear expenses for all COVID-related treatments to state government insurance cardholders in empanelled private hospitals.
The state's health care infrastructure too is getting stretched. Currently, a lockdown is in force. But hundreds thronged a hospital in Chennai to procure the anti-viral drug Remdesivir. The state has also asked the central government to increase the supply of drugs like Remdesivir and medical oxygen.
To tackle the crisis, the new chief minister will rely on a 33-member cabinet. One appointment has stood out and that is of P Thiagarajan as the state's finance minister. PTR as he is better known is a global finance sector veteran. He is an alumnus of the MIT Sloan School of Management and has worked with global financial institutions like Standard Chartered and Lehman Brothers. Settling the states GST dues with the Centre will be high on his list of priorities. Also, bringing down a high fiscal deficit of nearly Rs 97,000 crore will be in focus.
To discuss all this, Shereen Bhan spoke to Palanivel Thiagarajan, finance minister of Tamil Nadu.Watch video for more.