On Saturday, NCP supremo Sharad Pawar wrote to PM Modi and Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman pitching a strategy to overcome the COVID-19 crisis faced by Maharashtra. Mentioning that Mumbai was the hardest-hit city in the novel coronavirus outbreak, he contended that there could be detrimental consequences for the Indian economy if the situation was not swiftly addressed. First, he highlighted that the expected revenue shortfall of Maharashtra was Rs.1,40,000 crores, which would leave a huge hole in the state's finances.
He suggested that the borrowing limit of the states under the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act could be enhanced. Pawar also pointed out that public spending can be reduced. However, he acknowledged that both these options could be counterproductive. Thereafter, he requested the Centre to extend a two-year moratorium on repayment of the National Small Savings Fund Loan by the state governments. The NCP chief also called upon the Union government to give a suitable financial package to states. According to him, there was no problem in the Centre resorting to deficit financing.
Conveyed my concern to Hon. @PMOIndia and @nsitharamanoffc and drew their attention towards the following economic indicators and strategy to overcome the crisis faced by the State. pic.twitter.com/DfOxXEBMOy— Sharad Pawar (@PawarSpeaks) April 26, 2020
Pawar also put forth a number of suggestions pertaining to the economic opportunities in the wake of the novel coronavirus pandemic. For instance, he urged the Narendra Modi government to actively promote e-commerce and home delivery. Additionally, he predicted a bright future for telemedicine. The NCP supremo observed that it was necessary to re-skill workers for the emerging sectors. Furthermore, he asked the Centre to proactively engage with the G20 and BRICS to ensure that India becomes a manufacturing hub, capturing the space likely to be ceded by China.
Maharashtra witnessed a huge leap in novel coronavirus cases after 811 confirmed novel coronavirus cases were reported on Saturday. This has propelled the state's COVID-19 tally to 7628. The Maharashtra Public Health Department mentioned that 1076 persons had been discharged after full recovery. 22 deaths- 13 in Mumbai, 4 in Pune and one each in Pune rural, Malegaon, Pimpri-Chinchwad, Dhule, and Solapur were reported in the day, taking the death toll in Maharashtra to 323.