Amid the Coronavirus crisis in the country, the Rajasthan government is seeking urgent steps to empower the State governments. Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Monday wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking an economic package including Rs 1 lakh crore for the State governments. CM Gehlot in his letter mentioned the rapidly deteriorating financial condition due to the decline in revenues.
In the letter, the Chief Minister of Rajasthan has mentioned that the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) recently increased the limit of Wage and Means Advance (WMA) by 30 per cent but not as interest-free. According to him, the RBI should be providing an interest-free WMA facility to the State governments to effectively deal with the Coronavirus pandemic. Further, he requested to include inter-alia relaxing the borrowing limits of the States and granting moratorium of at least three months on payment of instalments due to RBI and other financial institutions under the Government of India.
Along with it, he has requested to raise the State Developmental Loans through the Government of India in the bond market for onwards leading to respective State governments. He has further asked the government to consider giving wage subsidy as workers in the unorganised sector are facing a huge loss of livelihoods.
The Chief Minister has further requested PM Modi to increase the COVID-19 testing facilities in order to get an accurate picture of the spread of the virus in the country. He has also requested to make arrangements for importing testing kits and Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) for doctors and the medical staff, as well as to fix the price of ventilators. Further, he has requested to provide food grains at par with National Food Security Scheme (NFSS) beneficiaries to stranded migrant labourers, street vendors, rickshaw pullers, registered construction workers (unskilled and semi-skilled) and factory workers.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had announced a relief package for the poor and the affected persons due to the deadly Coronavirus. According to the minister, the package is worth Rs 1.7 lakh crore, under the Prime Minister Garib Kalyan Yojana. In his letter, CM Gehlot welcomed the package and said, "Its timely implementation would be in the public interest."
As per the latest figures, there are around 3851 coronavirus positive cases in India. While 111 deaths have been reported overall, around 319 people have also been cured/discharged/migrated.