NEW DELHI: Four Congress chief ministers on Thursday alleged that the Central government is not providing adequate financial assistance to combat COVID-19.
Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot, Chhattisgarh CM Bhupesh Baghel, Punjab CM Amarinder Singh, and Puducherry CM V Narayanasamy raised the issue during the Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting.
"We emphasized rapid testing but unfortunately the test kits have failed... There is an urgent need for centralized procurement of kits, ventilators, etc so that availability, quality, and quantity can be assured. We gave an advance pension to 80 lakh pensioners. To poor and destitute, we transferred 2,500. We are also giving 10 kg of wheat. We will also give 10 kg of wheat by buying it from the open market. This is a landmark decision," Gehlot said, as per a tweet by Congress leader Randeep Surjewala.
"Unless Central Govt comes forward to financially help the States, the fight against COVID-19 will get weakened... Unless there is a big financial package for States, how will normalcy return to States post lockdown," the Rajasthan Chief Minister said.
The Chhattisgarh CM said that there is a deep concern in the State for the return of its students and migrant workers stranded in other parts of the country.
"There needs to be a policy by the Central Govt for the return of migrant workers and students. Unfortunately, the Central Govt. is silent on the issue," he said.
Baghel added, "Unless the Central Govt was to rise to the occasion and provide financial assistance to the states, how will the fight against COVID-19 be won?"
Punjab CM Amarinder Singh said that resources of Rs 4,400 crore of GST have still not been released by the Central Government. He said the state has received the Chinese make 10,000 rapid testing kits in place of 1 lakh. "Their authenticity is to be tested still..," he added.
Puducherry CM V Narayanasamy said, "We have given Rs 2,000 to every household, Rs 5,000 to every farmer, additional Rs 2,000 to every construction worker and Rs 10,000 to every Women SHG, all from State's kitty. The Government of India hasn't given Rs 600 crore of GST and Rs 2,200 crore of Finance Commission's share. GOI hasn't given any assistance to us. How will the State survive in times of crisis? We are not enemies but have to act and work together."