Rajasthan CM Shri Ashok Gehlot Writes Again to Prime Minister
Requests to Take Urgent Steps to Empower State Governments
Jaipur, April 6. Chief Minister Shri Ashok Gehlot wrote again to Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi to take urgent steps to empower the State Governments. He requested to announce economic package including grant of Rs One Lakh Crores for the States without any further delay. “I would like to reiterate that our State’s financial condition is rapidly deteriorating due to decline in revenues and the State Government was forced to partially defer the salaries of the State Government employees for this month,” he added in the letter.
Shri Gehlot further mentioned that the Reserve Bank of India has recently increased the limit of Wage & Means Advance (WMA) by 30%, but not as interest free as requested in the last letter. RBI in such tough times should provide interest free WMA facility to State Governments to effectively deal with COVID-19 pandemic.
Grant Moratorium of Three Months
He once again requested to include inter-alia relaxing the borrowing limits of the States; granting moratorium of at least three months in payment of instalments due to RBI and other financial institutions under the Government of India and raising the State Developmental Loans through Government of India in the bond market for onwards leading to respective State Governments.
Provide Wage Subsidy as Being Provided in Canada
Chief Minister in his letter has asked the Government of India to consider giving wage subsidy as done in countries such as Canada, as workers in the unorganised sector are facing loss of their livelihoods. He said that the Garib Kalyan Yojana and Economic Package announced by the Government of India to contain the economic downturn caused by COVID-19 pandemic is a welcome step. “Its timely implementation would be in public interest,” he said.
Increase the Testing Facility
Shri Gehlot has requested the Government of India to exponentially increase the testing facilities to get the accurate picture of the spread of coronavirus in the country. He once again reiterated that Government of India should also put in place the clearly laid down inter-state supply chain protocol for the movement of essential goods.
Make Arrangements For PPE and Testing Kits
Chief Minister has further asked the PM to make arrangements for importing testing kits and Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) for doctors and medical staff on war footing and the same should be distributed to the States based on the number of cases. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare should certify and fix price for the ventilators for the ease of buying.
Food Grains to Needy People Who Are Not Covered Under NFSS
He has also requested to provide food grains at par with National Food Security Scheme (NFSS) beneficiaries to stranded migrant labourers and also to the street vendors, rickshaw pullers, registered construction workers (unskilled & semi-skilled) and factory workers of States, who are not covered under NFSS. Chief Minister also requested to consider making an advance wage payment for 21 days to the registered and active labourers engaged under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS), which may be adjusted once the work starts at sites.
We Need Coordinated Efforts in This Difficult Time
Shri Gehlot in his letter thanked Shri Modi for taking the State Governments into confidence in the spirit of cooperative federalism, in working out a coordinated and synergised strategy to contain the threat of COVID-19 pandemic, which is the need of the hour. “I personally wrote a letter to you on March 27, 2020 and also in the video conference of Chief Ministers on April 2 had raised these issues and once again I am writing to you to consider them. I am sure that with our coordinated and calibrated efforts, we shall be able to tide over these difficult times,” Shri Gehlot mentioned.