State eyeing liberal Central assistance

Urgently needs ₹15,000 crore to pay welfare pension, procurement arrears: Isaac

The State government is looking forward to a benevolent Central assistance and permission for more fiscal leeway for mobilising resources to fund the emergency triggered by COVID-19 spread.

The government machinery is being toned up to go on an overdrive in the week ahead for door delivery of rice, grocery, medicines and other essentials on demand.

Cash requirements of those rendered jobless upon being constrained to stay at home to check the community spread of the virus need to be met. Already the government has announced a stimulus package of ₹20,000 crore and is currently mopping up resources from all available sources for implementing the package. Still, the paucity of resources is impeding the government’s welfare measures.

Finance Minister T.M. Thomas Isaac told The Hindu that the State urgently needed ₹15,000 crore to wipe out the welfare pension arrears and also the dues to be paid for paddy procurement, rubber subsidy and such others.

“While demanding the people to stay at home, we have to meet their basic requirements. The State government has taken the first step and has announced a package, but given the gravity of the crisis, the State needs more funds and the Centre should heed the demands flagged by the government,” Dr. Isaac says.

GST arrears sought

The State has asked the Centre to immediately clear the Goods and Services Tax compensation arrears to the tune of ₹3,000 crore and also enhance the annual borrowing limit from 3 to 3.5% in the current financial year. It would offer a great relief to the government, especially in expediting the welfare measures proposed following the virus outbreak.

Dr. Isaac’s letter to Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitaraman on Tuesday last listing all these requirements has not elicited any response so far. The State was seriously planning to avail 50% of the borrowing limit in April and May to meet the immediate needs, but that would make the going tough in the months ahead. The only option is a Central assistance to cushion the impact of the crisis, sources said.

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Printable version | Apr 7, 2020 3:53:48 AM |

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