Pondy CM offers bouquets, brickbats to Finance Minister

Puducherry, May 17 (PTI) Puducherry Chief Minister V Narayanasamy on Sunday offered bouquets and brickbats to the Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman over the economic package.

He said, 'My compliments to the Finance Minister for her announcing the fifth and final tranche of measures that there will be an additional allocation of Rs 40,000 crore to carry out activities under MGNREGA (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act).' The senior Congress leader said the allocation would provide jobs to rural workersthereby boosting the economy.

The Chief Minister lauded the Finance Minister for raise the borrowing limit for the states from present three per cent to five per cent during 2021.

'I have been insisting on the Prime Minister to hike the borrowing limit, particularly during the current situation to take on COVID-19. This gesture on the part of the Finance Minister will be a big relief to states and the union territory,' he said.

Narayanasamy, however, objected to the Centre letting the private sector gain a greater foothold in various areas and opening up of the key areas to private players is not welcome.

He further said his cabinet meeting on Monday to decide various important issues including the question of extending the ongoing lockdown or lifting it. 'The cabinet meeting will decide also on re-opening liquor shops which remained shut since March 24. Our concern is poor revenue to the government because of drying up of excise income which should be strong,' he said.

He said the government had requested the Madras School of Economics to go into the areas that would help Puducherry get more revenue. 'The school will submit its report in a month,' he said adding that the budget for the fiscal 2020- 2021 would also be presented shortly on the floor of the Assembly,' he said.

The Puducherry government should be granted 41 per cent of its revenue as grants by the Centre and presently this was not available, he said.

Lauding the work done by doctors, nurses, health workers and volunteers of ASHA in preventing the spread of coronavirus in Puducherry, Narayanasamy said, 'We are alert in reining in the spread of the infection.' PTI COR NVG NVG