Punjab CM Amarinder Singh asks Modi to define path for economic revival

Chandigarh: Reiterating his demand for revenue grants to meet the shortfall in revenues and the higher expenditure being incurred on healthcare of Covid-19, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Thursday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to clearly define the way forward for economic revival.

In a letter to the Prime Minister, the Chief Minister said: "The exit strategy may not only lay down the parameters to contain the Covid-19 within safe limits but should also define the path of economic revival."

"It should consider and focus on fiscal and economic empowerment of the states."

Besides raising the demand for revenue grants, the Chief Minister also called for a directive from the Centre to the 15th Finance Commission to review its report for the current year, as the situation had completely changed due to the pandemic.

He said the 15th Finance Commission should recommend devolution of funds for five years, beginning April 1, 2021, instead of 2020, after factoring in the impact of Covid-19.

Amarinder Singh also urged the Prime Minister to issue necessary directions to various ministries in this regard, in order to enable the states to formulate clear strategies and the path, post-lockdown 3.0 on May 17.

He said that this was necessary as Covid-19 and the subsequent lockdowns had led to unprecedented losses of jobs, businesses, and economic opportunities, and its true impact was yet to be known.

Pointing out that it was well known that the economy had slowed down and the GDP will not rise, the Chief Minister said Punjab's revenues had declined by 88 per cent in April.

"The poor have been the worst-affected with damage to all aspects of their socio-economic living. The threat of poverty, hunger and health deprivation are far more imminent now.

"If socio-economic living of the common man is not restored immediately, there could be serious psychological dismemberment of our society. The loss of jobs and livelihood has in fact also severely impaired equity and civil liberties in our society," he said, adding that these were the stark realities of today.

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