India likely to stay at home till may
States seek more economic firepower to fight virus
New Delhi: Several states on Saturday pitched for an extension of the 21-day nationwide lockdown, that was to end on 14 April, during their video conference with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
While Chief Ministers of Telangana, Kerala, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Punjab and Delhi, and Governor of Jammu and Kashmir made a case for the extension of lockdown, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy suggested a partial lockdown.
States have also sought more resources to deal with the health and the socio-economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic and pitched for leveraging Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) to counter the same.Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren called for increasing the pay and number of work days under MGNREGA.
Telangana CM K Chandrashekar Rao also called for MNREGA to be linked with agriculture for at least two months. KCR and Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot also called for quantitative easing or new money supply by the Reserve Bank of India.
MGNREGA is a demand-driven social security scheme that provides for 100 days of work per rural household with the number of work days allowed to be increased to 150 annually in case of drought, flood or a similar calamity.
India had earlier rolled out a 1.7 trillion relief package, to limit the economic damage caused by the coronavirus outbreak, which many experts have termed as inadequate.
West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee demanded a national package amounting to around 6% of the country's gross domestic product to counter the pandemic and its impact and relief for the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) sector.
Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan called for special non-stop trains to be arranged for the stranded people in different parts of country and broad basing the income support schemes for three months.
While Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray suggested allowing industrial activity within the four walls, Delhi's CM Arvind Kejriwal brought up the issue of Delhi's tax revenues drying up and it facing a severe revenue crunch.
Also, Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik called for GST waiver on personal protective equipment (PPE) and medicines.
Punjab CM Captain Amarinder Singh called for a three month crop loan waiver and said that the godowns are full in the state primarily dependent on agriculture.
Manipur CM Biren Singh raised the issue of racism and discrimination faced by the people from India's north eastern region in the time of the coronavirus outbreak, which began in China.