Punjab Chief Minister seeks liberal fiscal package from Centre - ECAS Punjab

Punjab Chief Minister seeks liberal fiscal package from Centre

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Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 11

Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh today urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to provide a liberal financial package to the state to fill the revenue collection gap caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Captain Amarinder raised the demand during a video-conference of the Prime Minister with chief ministers to review the Covid situation. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Health Minister Harsh Vardhan also participated in the meeting.

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'Will turn state into industrial hub'

Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh on Monday invited industry stalwarts to gauge the conducive industrial ecosystem in Punjab. Claiming the state would soon become an industrial hub, he said there was a lot of interest by industrial community to invest with various incentives and policies. TNS

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Captain Amarinder said the current cap of 35 per cent in the State Disaster Relief Fund for Covid-related expenditure, as per the MHA guidelines, was not sufficient to meet the current requirements.

Citing the state's rising Covid cases, which have gone up to 24,891 with 604 deaths, the Chief Minister urged the Prime Minister to review the UGC decision on mandatory exams for exit classes to be held by September 30.

He said Punjab may not be in a position to conduct exams in September as it may be facing its peak at that time. The CM suggested promoting these students on the basis of past performance and internal assessment, with the option to take exams later for those wanting to improve their performance.

Seeking Central government's assistance for online school education, he said more money was needed for creating the infrastructure for it.

Though Punjab was conducting 23,000 tests per million for Covid (higher than the national average), and planned to increase RT-PCR tests from 12,000 to 20,000 in the next 15 days, it needed to scale up its capacity further, he said. He requested the Prime Minister to direct Central institutions in Chandigarh and Punjab to increase the testing capacity.

Expressing concern over the state's mortality rate of 2.4 per cent, Captain Amarinder said though it was lower than the all-India deaths per million and 91 per cent of the fatalities were patients with comorbidities, it was still higher than neighbouring Haryana. Patients were coming to hospitals late and 86 per cent of deaths were occurring in tertiary hospitals, he added.

Requesting early operationalisation of Covid testing and treatment at AIIMS, Bathinda, Captain Amarinder said it would be useful for residents of southern Punjab. Notably, OPDs are already functional at AIIMS, Bathinda. He also sought increase in the bed capacity at the PGI, Chandigarh, which was a premier tertiary care facility for the state.



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