Central assistance for Maharashtra has once again come under the spotlight after Congress Member of the Parliament Rahul Gandhi made a strong case for it. Gandhi, in his web interaction with the media, said Maharashtra, which is a prominent state and the centre of the country’s economy, should get assistance, especially in the present fight against COVID-19.
Gandhi’s statement received support from Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee president and Revenue Minister Balssaheb Thorat, who said, “The work of the centre is management and the work of the states is to fight the virus. In the case of Maharashtra, there has been a revenue shortfall due to the lockdown, which has severely impacted its economy. Maharashtra has been the centre of economic activity and job creation. Therefore, the centre should provide assistance at the earliest.’’
Gandhi’s statement is also crucial when the centre recently decided to shift the proposed International Financial Services Centre to Gandhinagar from Mumbai. Congress, Nationalist Congress Party and Shiv Sena have slammed the centre, saying that it was an attempt to reduce Mumbai’s importance as the financial and commercial capital.
Furthermore, the timing of Gandhi’s statement is important as Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and his deputy Ajit Pawar have repeatedly urged the centre to provide an early assistance of Rs 25,000 crore and disburse dues of over Rs 18,000 crore towards GST and other taxes. Shiv Sena MP Sanay Raut and Housing Minister Jitendra Awhad pressed for a special economic package for the state.
Recently, former union minister and NCP chief Sharad Pawar, in a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, had demanded a special grant of Rs 1 lakh crore, as there has been a revenue shortfall of Rs 1.40 lakh crore because of the lockdown. Pawar also sought a two-year moratorium on the repayment of Rs 10,500 crore annually towards the National Small Saving Fund loan.