Centre "Failed" To Support States Fight COVID-19 Crisis: Amarinder Singh

Amarinder Singh said it was the duty of the centre to come forward in the fight against coronavirus and help states revive their battered economies.

Centre 'Failed' To Support States Fight COVID-19 Crisis: Amarinder Singh

All steps are being taken to restart economic activity in Punjab, Amarinder Singh said (File)

Chandigarh:

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Friday accused the centre of failing to provide any help to the states during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.

Mr Singh said it was the duty of the centre to come forward in the fight against coronavirus and help states revive their battered economies.

"The government of India has failed to provide any help to the small states in fighting the impact of the coronavirus outbreak and the prolonged lockdown," Amarinder Singh said in Chandigarh.

Economic revival would require support from the central government, the chief minister said, adding that Punjab was on top of the COVID-19 situation.

Last month, the Punjab government had sought a fiscal stimulus of Rs 51,102 crore from the centre to help the state tide over the financial crisis triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic and the prolonged nationwide lockdown.

At the moment, all steps to restart economic activity in Punjab have been taken by the state government, asserted Amarinder Singh.

Pointing to the conditional increase in borrowing limit of Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP), he said by curtailing the state's rights, the central government has negated the benefit and delayed the financial help that it had extended.

On the initiatives taken by the state government to revive its economy, Mr Singh said nearly Rs 24,000 crore has been pumped into the rural economy as a result of the bumper wheat crop during the just concluded Rabi season.

Talking to media through video call, Mr Singh said of the total 2.56 lakh industrial units in the state, all but 20,000 had resumed operations.

However, the industry in Punjab would take some time to run to its optimum level, he said, urging the central government to bail out small and medium industries in this difficult time.

Asked to comment on the recent interaction between Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and industrialist Rajiv Bajaj, the chief minister said both were right in highlighting that the country's GDP and the lives of its people are key issues.

Although the lockdown was necessary to save lives, it is now vital to revive the state's economy, for which a panel of experts led by economist Montek Singh Ahluwalia is preparing a blueprint, he added.