Lockdown Extension: States chart revival course for post-lockdown economy


New Delhi: A concrete decision on whether the Covid-19-induced lockdown will continue after April 14 may be taken only after the PM-CMs meet on Saturday, but this has not deterred individual states from charting out strategies to revive their economic situation after the lockdown is lifted.

Odisha became the first state to extend the lockdown till April 30 –– a decision taken on Thursday at a Cabinet meeting headed by chief minister Navin Patnaik. It has requested the Centre not to begin rail or air services till this month end. During the video conference meeting with the PM on April 11, states are expected to take up the issue of raising more funds with the Centre.

“I have formed a task force under the additional chief secretary of the state to look into the measures to deal with the financial situation. Apart from the losses due to Covid-19, the financial loss is quite heavy and right now it would be difficult to assess the impact,” Chhattisgarh CM Bhupesh Baghel told ET.

Baghel, however, felt that the decision on the lockdown will be taken after the meeting with the PM. The central government has sanctioned `682.29 crore under MNREGA payments for the state and the first instalment of `404.01 crore was released two days ago.

Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren on Thursday wrote a letter to the PM demanding an increase in the MNREGA wages for the state from `200 per person per day to `250. “Jharkhand will be one of the most badly-hit states.

In the post GST implication scenario, we are left with nothing and largely dependent on the Centre,” Soren told ET. “We need a financial package of `15,000-20,000 crore and will raise this during our meeting with the PM.”

Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot has formed a committee under state chief economic advisor Arvind Mayaram to revive and boost economic activities in the state. “A complete shutdown would impact tax collections of the states and already they have limited fiscal space,” Arvind Mayaram told ET. “It is my opinion that lockdown of all states may be counterproductive.

It makes no sense to impose a lockdown in areas with no cases of Covid-19 and economic activity in some manner should start.” In MP, the state government has constituted a four-member committee under additional chief secretary (finance) Anurag Jain to give suggestions on dealing with the economic crisis.

The committee has been asked to submit its suggestions by April 15. Apart from this, the government has asked the road construction department to complete the tendering process of repair works of all the state roads and immediately after lockdown, work would be started to spur economic activities.

The Bihar government is asking for more financial resources from the Centre. JDU MP Lalan Singh had raised the issue during Wednesday’s meeting of the PM with floor leaders of political parties. “We need more financial help from the Centre,” he said.


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