CHANDIGARH: Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Thursday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to spell out the way forward for the country's economic revival and an exit strategy from lockdown 3 amid the Covid-19 spread.
Singh made the plea while reiterating his demand for grants to states for three months to meet the revenue shortfall and higher expenditure incurred on Covid-19 containment and management.
In a letter to the prime minister, the chief minister said, "The exit strategy may not only lay down the parameters to contain the Covid-19 within safe limits, but should also define the path of economic revival. It should consider and focus on the fiscal and economic empowerment of the states."
Besides raising the demand for revenue grants, the chief minister also called for a directive from the Centre to the 15th Finance Commission to review its report for the current year, as the situation had completely changed due to Covid-19 pandemic.
He also said the 15th Finance Commission should recommend devolution of funds for five years, beginning April 1, 2021 (instead of 2020), after factoring in the impact of Covid-19, an official release said here.
Amarinder Singh urged the prime minister to issue necessary directions to various ministries in this regard to enable states to formulate clear strategies and path, post-lockdown 3.0 on May 17.
The chief minister pointed out that this was necessary as Covid-19 and the subsequent lockdowns had led to unprecedented losses of jobs, businesses and economic opportunities, and its true impact was yet to be known.
Pointing out that it was very well known that the "economy had slowed down and the GDP will not rise", the chief minister said Punjab's revenue had declined by 88 per cent in April 2020.
"The poor have been the worst affected with damage to all aspects of their socio-economic living. The threat of poverty, hunger, and health deprivation is far more imminent now. If socio-economic living of the common man is not restored immediately, there could be serious psychological dismemberment of our society. The loss of jobs and livelihood has, in fact, also severely impaired equity and civil liberties in our society," he said, adding these were the stark realities of today.
The chief minister, meanwhile, assured the prime minister that the Punjab Government would do everything possible to contain this deadly virus to save the lives of its people.