In an admission of financial pressure on state treasury as a fallout of the Coronavirus crisis, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Monday estimated a Rs 30,000 crore hole in revenue this financial year. He has requested Centre's fiscal and non-fiscal assistance to tide over the crisis.
"I have just sent to the Prime Minister a memorandum of the Government of India seeking fiscal and non-fiscal assistance from the government. We have covered all our areas. We estimate, that by the end of this financial year, we will be short of about Rs 30,000 crore in revenue," the CM said in a press conference.
[Live] from Press Conference at Chandigarh https://t.co/j6rH4Nv1Tl— Capt.Amarinder Singh (@capt_amarinder) June 29, 2020
Amarinder Singh observed that the lockdown has disrupted trade and economic activities which have put pressure on Goods and Services Tax (GST) collections. He said Punjab has received only Rs 2,200 crore in GST for the first three months of the year and noted that collections may remain subdued as restrictions on economic activities continue and businesses flutter.
Apprising of Punjab's preparedness on the Coronavirus front, the CM said the state will arrange 4,246 beds out of which 2,014 are ready and will ramp up availability of ventilators. Punjab has reported at least 5,200 COVID-19 cases and 133 deaths.
"Some say we will reach the peak (of COVID-19 cases) in July, some say August, September, October or November. It could be anytime. There is no clear cut method of this escalation. We have to be prepared," Singh said, adding, "We have got arrangements for 4,246 beds out of which 2,014 are ready, another 949 beds have been kept reserved in the private sector. A total of 52 government and 195 private hospitals have been booked for COVID-19 cases. We will soon have well over 600 ventilators."
Amarinder Singh further said that when the number of active cases crosses 5,000, the state will activate 'phase two' of its plan under which 10,000 beds will be added in cities and districts with high infections.
"If we reach 10,000 (active cases), we will activate phase three, where we have made arrangements for another 10,000 beds in college and schools hostels, etc that we have earmarked in case of emergencies," he said. Singh assured that there are enough available stock of N-95 masks, three-layer masks, personal protection equipment (PPE) kits in the state.
(With ANI inputs)