Along with Vijay Rupani and KC Rao, Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh has also pitched for extension of lockdown in the meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday. However, PM Singh has urged the Prime Minister to introduce a well-crafted exit strategy along with the extension of the lockdown to save lives and secure livelihood. During the video conference meeting with the PM, Capt Amarinder also sought economic development with greater flexibility in micro-planning for states.
Chief Minister @capt_amarinder Singh has pitched for extension of #lockdown, but with a carefully crafted strategy, backed by fiscal and economic empowerment of states, to save lives and secure livehood.....(1)— CMO Punjab (@CMOPb) May 11, 2020
The Exit Strategy should consider and focus on fiscal and economic empowerment of the States, which are responsible for the real action directly impinging upon the livelihood and social health of the common man, said the Chief Minister, suggesting that States should be allowed great flexibility in micro-planning, with MSMEs to be allowed to function in Red Zone districts with proper safeguards. Captain Amarinder demanded urgent financial assistance to States to meet at least 33% of their committed liabilities, along with revenue grants to the states for 3 months to meet the shortfall in revenue and to fund expenditure on Covid-19.
The Punjab Chief Minister also appealed for a 'National Testing Strategy' for COVID-19 to make the battle against the pandemic more effective. He highlighted that the state gad so far conducted 40,962 tests and has a testing rate of 2500 per day which is planned to scale up to 6000 a day. Capt Amarinder urged the Prime Minister to allow states it differentiate districts into red, orange and green zones. With four containment zones, Punjab currently has 1823 positive cases (2.75% of All-India cases), with 31 deaths (1.40% of All-India deaths), translating into Mortality Rate of 1.70%, he apprised the Prime Minister.
This is the fifth conference the Prime Minister will hold on COVID-19 with all CMs. Previous meetings had all been to discuss the nation's strategy to battle COVID-19 and had resulted in nation-wide lockdowns - the last one with considerable relaxations. While all CMs had attended the first one, Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan has sent a representative for the past two meetings. Most CMs had aired their grievances and have supported the Centre's move to extend lockdown. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Home Minister Amit Shah are in attendance.