Former Maharashtra CM Prithviraj Chavan
Former Maharashtra CM Prithviraj Chavan
BL Soni

Congress task force on CoVID-19 has suggested the state government to provide an unemployment allowance of Rs 5,000 per month for each working person in the unorganised sector, including farmers. The task force has also demanded the waiving off of six months interest on agricultural loans, GST on personal protective equipment (PPEs), and a special package for the poultry industry.

The task force recommends that Maharashtra should lead the way in providing unemployment allowance to all the unorganised sector workers for next three months at the rate of Rs 5,000 per month. “This should include all the farm laborers, hawkers, small rural shopkeepers, and other informal workers,” it suggested in its first report.

Congress had constituted a task force in the state under the leadership of former Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan. It has submitted its first report to Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) president and Revenue Minister Balsaheb Thorat. It will also be submitting a second report on the strategy of lifting the lockdown and for economic revival. “Congress will have meetings with its ministers in the state cabinet on these recommendations and party president Thorat will discuss them with Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray,” said Chavan, addressing the press conference on this issue.

The first report includes recommendations in five key areas, namely, medical and health, farmers and agriculture, availability of food and PDS, lockdown-related issues and socio-economic Issues.

Talking about the measures to be taken to help farmers in the Kharif season, it suggested, “All cotton, including low quality cotton, must be purchased by CCI and/or the Maharashtra government. The government must ensure adequate availability of seeds and fertilizers for the upcoming Kharif sowing season.” It added that the government must also declare a special package for poultry farms. It recommended to waive-off interest on agricultural loans and electricity charges for six months

Waiving off GST on PPE

“The government must impose price control on PPEs through uniform pricing policy and request the central government to waive off GST. Testing for CoVID-19 must be free in the private hospitals registered under the Mahatma Phule Jeevandayee Arogya Yojna,” the task force suggested.

“Government must specify SOP for the inclusion of private doctors in the fight against CoVID-19. It can use Sangamner or Alandi pattern in this regard,” said Chavan.

Rs 21 lakh crore stimulus package

The CoVID-19 outbreak and lockdown may push the world to the pre-industrial era. The USA is spending 10 per cent of its GDP for the stimulus package. “The Indian economy is currently pegged at 2.1 trillion dollors and there are no chances of economic growth in the near future. The central government will have to spend at least 10 per cent, which is 21 lakh crore as stimulus. The economic advisor to the PM Arvind Subramanyam too has suggested spending 5 per cent of the GDP as stimulus,” Chavan stated.

“The central government should relax the conditions of the FRBM Act and should not worry about the financial deficit. As currently, the survival of society is important, RBI should print extra currency and this money can be raised through bonds,” Bhalchandra Mungekar, member of the task force and a well-known economist said.

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