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Punjab seeks over Rs 80,000 crore aid from Centre to 'save lives and secure livelihoods'

Chief Minister Amarinder Singh in a memorandum to Prime Minister Narendra Modi pointed towards a 'large-scale devastation and distress' caused to the state due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Published: 15th June 2020 06:37 PM  |   Last Updated: 16th June 2020 11:12 AM   |  A+A-

Punjab CM Amarinder Singh

Punjab CM Amarinder Singh (Photo | PTI)

Express News Service

CHANDIGARH: Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has sent a memorandum to Prime Minister Narinder Modi seeking financial aid from the Centre to the tune of Rs 79,460 crore, along with non-fiscal assistance on various counts, in order to save lives and secure livelihoods due to the distress caused by the pandemic.

Amarinder has demanded waiver of long-term CCL debt, upward revision of capital outlay and targets under MGNREGA and other major flagship programmes of the Centre such as Smart City Programme, AMRUT and a new National Urban Employment Guarantee scheme, in addition to revamping of Inter-state Migrant Workers Act and amendments to labour reforms to ensure full protection of the rights of agriculture and industrial labourers.

"The Centre's urgent intervention was needed to avert any major socio-economic upheaval in the coming future, as also to assure our next generations of safe living and security of livelihood," said the CM demanding an aid of Rs 80,845 crore.

Singh also emphasised the need for 'administrative, structural and even statutory changes' to ensure the safety and security of people in the new normal, given that the pandemic is here to stay for a long time.

The Punjab government feels that states alone cannot meet the new challenges, therefore, in the true spirit of cooperative federalism, needs the Union government to assist them in an unusually big way, which the country has never seen since the Independence in 1947, the CM said.

The Punjab chief minister in a statement said a direct fiscal stimulus of Rs 26,400 crore and the waiver of the long-term CCL (cash credit limit) debt was extremely necessary for the fiscal recovery of the state.

Additionally, all central schemes should be 100 per cent funded by the Centre in 2020-21, the CM urged.

The Punjab government also sought Rs 6,603 crore for improvement in the state's public health infrastructure.

Besides, the state will need an estimated Rs 15,975 crore for the upgrade of farm-gate infrastructure, one-time debt waiver, providing income support and interest subvention.

The present agricultural borrowing of farmers should be frozen and taken over by the Centre by converting these as a long-term debt to be paid to the banks in 10-15 equal instalments by the Centre, the CM said.

For the future, farmers should be given production-linked credit fully reflecting upon their paying capacity, Amarinder Singh said, seeking Rs 1,161 crore for animal husbandry and dairy sectors.

To contain the COVID-19 contagion in the rural areas, Rs 5,068 crore will be required for liquid and solid waste management in the villages, the CM demanded.

To meet the post-COVID online and other educational needs, the state has sought an assistance of Rs 3,080 crore, with another Rs 8 crore for online training and stipend at Rs 1,000 per month for students during the lockdown period.

The government also sought Rs 757 crore for new and renewable energy sector, Rs 571 crore for border area development and Rs 326 crore for the transport sector.

Besides seeking Rs 5,040 crore as fiscal assistance for the welfare of migrant labourers, the CM demanded that the Inter-State Migrant Workers Act should be revamped to safeguard their interests and basic rights.

The government also sought support for trade and industry, especially micro, small and medium enterprises.

The CM also demanded the non-fiscal component of the aid which included upward revision of capital outlay and targets under the MGNREGA and other major flagship programmes of the Centre such as the Smart City programme.

(With PTI Inputs)

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