Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Saturday sought urgent intervention of the Union Finance Minister to mitigate the crisis caused by COVID-19 outbreak in the state, including immediate release of GST compensation arrears of Rs 2,088 crore.
In a letter, which followed a telephonic conversation, the Chief Minister sought from Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman some additional urgent steps to mitigate the crisis caused by the outbreak of COVID-19 global pandemic.
The Union Finance Minister had earlier called up the Chief Minister, who subsequently sent her a detailed letter listing out certain important proposals to help the state in this critical time, according to an official spokesperson.
The Chief Minister conveyed to Sitharaman that for opening the banks, he had asked the state Finance Department to issue necessary guidelines to facilitate the common man in meeting his banking requirements.
In addition to the Punjab-specific GST compensation arrears, the Chief Minister proposed that the balance GST compensation dues may be released with other states.
In his letter, Amarinder Singh further proposed that the Centre should ask the RBI to raise the ways and means advances for all states to tide over the shortfall in receipts.
He also suggested that the government of India may raise the borrowing limit of states under the FRBM Act from three to four per cent.
In addition to deferment of instalments of industrial loans, the Chief Minister has urged that commercial banks should defer loan instalments for agriculture or crop loans, which the Punjab government had already done for the state cooperative banks.
Further, in line with the initiative taken by the state government with respect to cooperative banks, he has also sought waiver of three months' interest on agricultural and crop loans by commercial banks.