Sharad Pawar
Sharad Pawar

Mumbai: Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) president Sharad Pawar, on Thursday, said that Maharashtra economy will be hit the most, as industrial and trading activities and related transactions were halted because of the CoVID-19 lockdown. He said that similar crises will prevail in various states as well as at the national level, and the revival of the economy will have to be done through dialogue.

Pawar, who had written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on April 25 seeking an additional grant of Rs 1 lakh crore for Maharashtra, in his web address, said that since the last 40 days, industrial and trade activities had paused in the state and had led to job loss.

He added that the state government, in its annual budget for 2020-21, had estimated revenue receipts of Rs 3,47,000 crore, but as per the revised estimates, the expected revenue shortfall would be Rs 1,40,000 crore. This is around 40 per cent of the expected revenues and will have a huge hole in the state finances. NCP chief, in his letter to the PM, brought these matters to his notice.

FPJ has reported that Pawar had also urged the PM that the centre needs to provide a two-year moratorium for the repayment of Rs 10,500 crore annually towards the National Small Savings Fund Loan by the Maharashtra government. Further, he also appealed that the centre should resort to deficit financing in the present situation, as the borrowing by the central government will be much more efficient and cheaper compared to borrowing by the states.

On the agrarian crisis, Pawar suggested a few measures like restructuring farm and crop loans and giving concessions in the payment of interest rates by farmers. The interest rate on crop loans should be brought down to zero to help peasants, he added.

Pawar also demanded steps to address the issue of unemployment resulting from the lockdown. He praised the state machinery, particularly health workers and policemen, for working hard to fight CoVID-19.

Pawar expressed concern over the spurt in coronavirus cases in Mumbai, Pune, Jalgaon, Malegaon and Aurangabad. “There are a large number of cases, especially in Mumbai and Pune, due to the high density of population. Even though the citizens want to observe social distancing, they cannot do it due to space constraints in these two cities,’’ he noted.

Pawar, however, said as the administration has launched a massive testing plan, the number is increasing. However, not all those who are tested are coronavirus patients.

The NCP chief said that he is sure that steps will be taken to resume business activities in parts of Maharashtra that are not hit by CoVID-19 soon, to bring the state’s economy back on track and restore normalcy after the lockdown ends on May 3. He stated that different decisions on movement restrictions may be taken in connection with coronavirus hotspots like Mumbai and Pune. He, however, opined that steps to relax curbs should be taken on the condition of adhering strictly to social distancing norms to keep the deadly coronavirus at bay.

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