Amid the coronavirus pandemic that has brought the entire nation to a halt, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Wednesday, April 1, appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to allow companies in the state to use their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) funds to aid the state government in its battle against the deadly COVID-19 infection.
A release from Punjab Chief Minister's Office stated that the CM Singh has written a letter to the prime minister urging him to direct the Ministry of Corporate Affairs to include CM Relief Fund in the list of CSR activities of the Companies Act-2013.
"This step would immensely help the state Government to meet the challenge of COVID-19 pandemic more effectively, besides providing medical and other assistance to the poor and needy residents as well as migrant labour, in the wake of the nationwide lockdown," Singh stated in the letter.
"Companies in Punjab were seeking permission, in these trying circumstances, to use their CSR contribution to assist the State Government in its endeavour to contain COVID-19. This was essential as the country was already grappling with a huge and unprecedented disaster," said Captain Amarinder Singh.
"It may be noted that Captain had earlier, on June 7, 2018, sought inclusion of the CM Relief Fund in the list of activities permitted in Schedule VII of the Companies Act, 2013. However, the Union Finance and Corporate Affairs Minister had, on August 9, 2018, responded that there was no justification for such inclusion," read the release.
The Punjab Chief Minister earlier had also requested Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to release GST arrears worth Rs 2,088 crore towards the state and defer payments on Industrial and Agricultural loans so as to assist the concerned people by softening the impact of coronavirus.
The two leaders had a telephone conversation on Saturday evening and in a series of tweets, the former listed the requirements of the state government. The chief minister asked for the opening of all banks, waiving interest for farmer loans from commercial banks, health insurance for sanitary workers and the police, proposed a payment of 15 days unemployment allowance per month for three months to mitigate rural distress on account of the nationwide lockdown and suggested allowing 10-day wages under MGNREGA to small and marginal farmers.
(Image - PTI)