Release ₹1 lakh crore to States, Gehlot suggests to Modi

Many CMs asked PM about possibility of lockdown extension

Published - April 02, 2020 11:38 pm IST - NEW DELHI

New Delhi: Rajasthan Chief Minister and Congress leader Ashok Gehlot during an interview with PTI, in New Delhi, Monday, March 18, 2019. (PTI Photo/Shahbaz Khan) (Story no DEL 25)(PTI3_19_2019_000046B)

New Delhi: Rajasthan Chief Minister and Congress leader Ashok Gehlot during an interview with PTI, in New Delhi, Monday, March 18, 2019. (PTI Photo/Shahbaz Khan) (Story no DEL 25)(PTI3_19_2019_000046B)

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot suggested to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday that the Centre release ₹1 lakh crore to States to enable them to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic and the ramifications of the nationwide lockdown.

The grant could be based on the number of patients in each State, its population or the GST Council’s guidelines, Mr. Gehlot said during Mr. Modi’s videoconference with Chief Ministers.

Mr. Gehlot proposed that the borrowing limit of States should be increased by 2% so that the people felt comfortable. “The States also expect a moratorium on the payment of their dues to the financial institutions under RBI. These should be deferred,” he said.

The Rajasthan CM also raised the issue of MGNREGA workers with the Prime Minister, saying that the government must consider giving these workers an advance payment during the lockdown period.

‘Bihar short of PPE’

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said the State had asked for 10 lakh N95 masks but received only 50,000. After seeking five lakh PPE kits, Bihar has received 4,000; and against a demand for 100 ventilators, the State is yet to get a single one, he said. “Whatever decision the Prime Minister has taken to fight coronavirus, we’re following it,” Mr. Kumar was quoted as saying in a release. “Though some problem had cropped up earlier as people were sent from Delhi during lockdown, all those who came here were taken to their homes and are being provided medicine, food and being quarantined,” the statement said.

A total of 1,70,470 people had come to Bihar from outside the State, of whom 12,051 had travelled from overseas. All are being kept under home quarantine, the statement said.

Telemedicine in Haryana

On his part, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal said that his government had decided to roll out telemedicine services in the State immediately since people are unable to visit hospitals.

Apprising Mr. Modi of the situation in Indore, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said the city had a dedicated hospital to help combat the disease. Similar arrangements were in place in Bhopal too.

Mr. Chouhan informed the Prime Minister that in the form of “alternative treatment”, AYUSH medicines were also being given in Madhya Pradesh. Around six lakh persons had been administered such medicines. In addition, to boost immunity, homoeopathy medicines were given to 17,50,000 individuals.

Sources in the Odisha Chief Minister’s Office said several queries during the interaction pertained to the possibility of the lockdown being extended, with many Chief Ministers stating that it was affecting the economy.

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and his West Bengal counterpart Mamata Banerjee skipped the interaction, deputing their Chief Secretaries instead.

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