State CMs request PM Modi for financial support, agree on lockdown extension

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on April 11, 2020

The Chief Ministers, cutting across party lines, demanded Prime Minister Narendra Modi to provide more financial assistance to the States fight Covid 19. The Chief Ministers belonging to Opposition-ruled States urged the Centre to expand the limit of fiscal deficit to five per cent from the present three per cent under the FRBM Act. They also questioned the direction of the Centre to corporates that contributions to Chief Minister’s relief fund will not come under the Corporate Social Responsibility structure.

Puducherry Chief Minister and Congress leader V Narayanasamy told reporters after the meeting that the focal point of the Chief Ministers’ views was that, firstly, the people have lost their livelihood due to the lockdown. “The State Governments do not have sufficient funds, because business establishments have been closed, industries have been closed and all the economic activities are in a standstill. Except the agriculture sector, all other activities have become standstill and the states are not having sufficient funds. Therefore, what the Centre is going to do for supporting the state Governments financially?” he said.

He said the Chief Ministers also expressed concern about the economy of the country. “Apart from that the organised labour, unorganised labour, the agriculture labour, the construction workers, migrant labours, the small shop owners, the people who are running MSMEs, industries, what kind of package the Government is going to do for them? Especially the MGNREGA workers, who lost their jobs, their livelihood, how to help them? Most of the Chief Ministers except some of the BJP Chief Ministers, who have been telling the Prime Minister that he is doing a good job. The main issue is of the livelihood of the people for which they wanted answer from the Prime Minister,” Narayanasamy said.

On the issue of migrant labourers, he said it will be difficult for the industries to keep them if the lockdown is extended. “The industries are not having the capacity to keep them there and provide them shelter. More over, the migrant workers want to go to their home states. Provision has to be made in this regard,” he said.

The Chief Ministers asked the Centre for sufficient funds and moratorium of six months from paying the dues owed to Centre. “The Government of India should extend three per cent FRBM to five per cent, most of the Chief Ministers have said and they also said the essential supplies are not coming from various parts of the states, as it has been blocked. There should be a mechanism for the purpose of essential supplies to all the states. The producing states should be allowed to send it to their receiving ones,” he said.

He said Chief Minister of West Bengal Mamata Banerjee urged the Centre to stop the Governors and Lieutenant Governors from playing politics during a crisis. “They are trying to interfere in the administration of the Government and it has become a menace for doing the Coronavirus work by the Chief Ministers in various states and they told the Prime Minister to control those Lieutenant Governors and Governors, who should not interfere in their day-to-day administration,” he said.

Published on April 11, 2020

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