Tamil Nadu seeks ₹4,000-crore Central assistance to fight Covid-19

Our Bureau Chennai | Updated on March 25, 2020

Edappadi K Palaniswami   -  THE HINDU

Tamil Nadu has sought a financial assistance of ₹4,000 crore from the Centre to for various relief measures in tackling Covid-19 pandemic.

The 21-day lockdown announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday, will add to the huge strain on the State’s economy. The poorest and daily-wage workers will be the most impacted as they face an immediate loss of livelihood and have very limited savings to face the adversity.

Many businesses, especially the MSMEs are also facing difficulties and may collapse without adequate and timely support.

“We eagerly await the announcement of the economic and financial relief package,” Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami said in a letter to Modi.

On specific relief to different sectors, Palaniswami said workers dependent on MGNREGA wages have been put to considerable hardship. “To relieve their hardship, I request that at least ₹500 crore be released as a special allocation to pay 50 per cent wages for the wage lost in the months of March, April and May,” he said.

For 12-lakh construction workers and 15 lakh workers in other unorganised sector, Palaniswami requested Modi to allot ₹500 crores. For the Public Distribution Scheme, stocks of food grains available with FCI may be released at BPL rates, he urged.

MSMEs face considerable loss of production and of markets. Cash flows are heavily constrained making it very difficult for them to meet their tax, statutory dues including bank loans.

“I request that as a special measure, bank loan repayments can be rescheduled at least for two quarters, without treating them as NPAs. Interest and penalties can be waived for the two quarters. The working capital loans to all industries and businesses can be enhanced by 50 per cent without seeking any additional collateral from the enterprises,” he said. Government’s revenues have also taken a hit and the expenditure needs have risen considerably. As a one-time measure, Palaniswami requested Modi that the fiscal deficit limits of 3 per cent of GSDP may be relaxed for the financial years 2019-20 and 2020-21.

Further, additional borrowing of 33 per cent above the level permitted for the fiscal year 2019-20 may be allowed for 2020-21 to enable the States to meet the additional expenditure requirements, he said.

Palaniswami also sought help from the public to prevent the spread of coronavirus by being alert; maintain social distancing and stay at home,

While the government is taking all measures, it is also the responsibility of people to take all preventive measures, he said in a televised address to the State on various measures being taken by the government.

State government has taken measures to ensure that essential commodities like milk, vegetables and groceries are made available to the public, he said.

Palaniswami requested families, friends, neighbours of people who have come from abroad to inform the police or district authorities if they are not observing home quarantine

Meanwhile, five new cases — four Indonesian nationals and their agent - have tested positive for Covid-19 taking the total number of cases to 23 in Tamil Nadu. They have tested positive at Salem Medical College, and have been quarantined since March 22, says a tweet by State Health Minister C Vijayabaskar.

Published on March 25, 2020

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