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Punjab seeks package to mitigate hardship resulting from COVID-19

Punjab Chief Minister Capt. Amarinder Singh. File

Punjab Chief Minister Capt. Amarinder Singh. File   | Photo Credit: Akhilesh Kumar

Amarinder calls for extension of financial year from March 31 to April 30

The Punjab government has sought a comprehensive economic package from the Centre to mitigate the hardship resulting from the COVID-19 to the most vulnerable people and establishments across sectors, besides the poor daily wage workers.

Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has submitted a memorandum to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, urging an economic support from the Centre to business enterprises, Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), as well as organised and unorganised labour.

Also read: Punjab imposes curfew

The Chief Minister has sought immediate extension of the financial year from March 31 to April 30, for the worst hit MSME, tourism and hospitality sectors, along with major interventions in healthcare and pharma sectors. He has also suggested that foodgrain entitlement under the National Food Security Act 2013 may be doubled from 5 kg per person per month to 10 kg.

While seeking suspension of all ongoing works under the Ministry of Rural Development, the Chief Minister has asked for wages for the MNREGA workers, as they are guaranteed wage employment under the MNERG Act, till the national level health emergency lasts or till their 100 days mandate is achieved, whichever is earlier. The compensation required for 15 days for the engaged labour mentioned above is ₹53 crore, he said.

In his letter, Captain Amarinder said while “Punjab is fully prepared to face the challenges emerging due to COVID-19, it is felt that the economic impact of the situation is going to be rather grave”. He urged the Prime Minister to advise the COVID-19 Economic Response Task Force to consider the State’s proposals to address the economic implications.

Among the key general proposals of the State government are reduction by 2% in industry interest rates on loans, reduction in excise and VAT on petroleum, diesel and allied products by at least 25% to bring down the prices of petrol and diesel by ₹9-10 per litre, a special category fund of ₹25,000 crore with no collateral to fund the financial needs of the MSMEs, waiver of interest on loans and cash credit limit for the affected period and extension in due dates of the GST returns.

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Printable version | May 29, 2020 3:06:08 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/punjab-seeks-package-to-mitigate-hardship-resulting-from-covid-19/article31142719.ece

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