Punjab suffered 88% revenue loss in April, Capt tells Sonia
CHANDIGARH: Punjab chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh on Wednesday pegged the state’s revenue loss at 88% in April as all tax income dried up and only 1.5% of the industry was operational.
Painting a gloomy picture of the state finances, Amarinder, who was participating in a video conference of chief ministers of Congress-ruled states with party president Sonia Gandhi, said the state was facing a difficult financial situation which was compounded by absence of aid from the central government. Former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh and former Congress president Rahul Gandhi also attended the VC.
Amarinder informed them that as against the estimated revenues of Rs 3,360 crore for April, only Rs 396 crore were received and the state’s power consumption had also declined by 30% with a daily loss of Rs 30 crore in collection of electricity tariff to the Punjab State Power Corporation Ltd (PSPCL).
The state’s GST arrears of Rs 4,365.37 crore were also yet to be paid by the Centre, he said.
The CM said the group of experts constituted under Montek Singh Ahluwalia to formulate post-Covid strategy for economic revival would submit its initial report in three months in all likelihood and then take another month to finalise the same. Amarinder was of the opinion that the decision on classification of zones as red, orange or green should be left to the states, which, in turn, could authorise the deputy commissioners to demarcate as per the ground realities. The CM also warned of high risk of spread of infection in the state from those returning to Punjab especially the workers coming back from the Gulf in crowded ships. “Four ships of migrants, mostly labourers, are expected to arrive in the next few days, while the first plane with NRIs is expected to reach Punjab on Thursday,” he said. ‘All persons coming back will be kept in quarantine for about one week until they have been tested for the virus,” he said.
SHOPS TO OPEN FROM 7AM TO 3PM IN PUNJAB
The Punjab government on Wednesday extended the timing for opening of shops from 7am to 3pm.
The new orders will be applicable from Thursday. The order in this regard was sent by additional chief secretary (home) to all the deputy commissioners, who have been asked to ensure that there is no overcrowding outside shops.
Banks will continue to remain open for public dealing from 9am to 1pm.