Arguing that state governments are facing a severe financial crunch because of the lockdown, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Thursday asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to give states more financial room by relaxing their borrowing limit and announcing a moratorium on payment of their dues to financial institutions under the RBI and other Central agencies.
He also asked the Centre to put in place an inter-state supply chain protocol to ensure unhindered operation of essential services and smooth supply of medicines, equipment and other essential commodities for the people during the lockdown. Speaking to The Indian Express, Gehlot said the Central government should also set up an additional fund of one lakh crore to help states.
“I have suggested to the Prime Minister that the Centre relax the borrowing limit of states from 3 per cent of Gross State Domestic Product to 5 per cent. Also, the Centre should step in and announce a moratorium on the payment of states’ dues to financial institutions under the RBI. These payments should be deferred,” he said.
Gehlot said his government is doing all it can to contain the pandemic. “But the main problem is the financial stress that we are facing.”
“I told the Prime Minister that the Central government should grant an additional Rs 1 lakh crore to states to tackle the pandemic. This will help states cope up with the financial stress… I told him that the fund can be distributed on the basis of either the number of corona patients in each state, on the basis of population or the guidelines devised by the GST council,” he said.
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