COVID-19 crisis: Maha govt welcomes Centre's financial package

Mumbai, Mar 26 (PTI) Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar on Thursday welcomed the Centre's Rs 1.70 lakh crore package, saying it was necessary in view of the coronavirus outbreak and assured that the state government will ensure the benefits reach the poor and needy.

Pawar who is the state finance minister, in a statement said the Centre must announce regular financial relief as the crisis situation unfolds.

He demanded a separate fund for setting up emergency health care services in the state and rest of the country.

The present package will be available to beneficiaries of the food welfare scheme and DBT (direct benefit transfer).

The distribution of aid should begin immediately, he added.

The Centre has unveiled a Rs 1.70-lakh-crore economic package involving free foodgrain and cooking gas to the poor for next three months, one-time doles to women and poor senior citizens, higher wages to workers and measures to boost liquidity of employees, as it looked to contain the impact of the nationwide lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The government has announced the lockdown until mid April, saying it is the only way out for the country to decisively defeat the virus. PTI MR GK GK