New Delhi, May 6 : The Chief Ministers of the Congress ruled states on Wednesday accused the Centre of non-cooperation in dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic, taking decisions arbitrarily without consulting them, and not providing them funds. The Chief Ministers were deliberating on the lockdown 3.0 situation with Congress interim President Sonia Gandhi.
At the meeting, held via video conferencing, Sonia Gandhi questioned the exit strategy of the Centre post May 17 when lockdown 3.0 ends.
"After May 17th, what? and after May 17th, how? What criteria is the Government of India (GoI) using to judge how long the lockdown is to continue...." she said during the meeting.
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, who has set up two committees -- one to strategise on how to come out of the lockdown and the other on economic revival -- said, "Concern is people sitting in Delhi are deciding on classification of zones without knowing what's happening on the ground." Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel said, "The States are facing dire economic crisis. They need to be provided immediate assistance." He said in his state 80 per cent of the Small Industries have restarted and nearly 85,000 workers have returned to work.
Puducherry Chief Minister V. Narayansamy also accused the Centre of taking one sided decisions. "The Government of India is deciding on zones without consulting the states and this is creating an anomalous situation. People sitting in Delhi can't tell the states. No State or CM is consulted. Why?" asked the Chief Minister.
"PM isn't saying a word on the economic package for states," he added.
Rajasthan Chief Minister Gehlot raised the issue of the stimulus package for the states. "Until extensive stimulus package is given, how will states and country run? We have lost Rs 10,000 crore of revenue. States have repeatedly requested Prime Minister for a package, but we are yet to hear from GOI," Gehlot said.
In the meeting, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh advised the Chief Ministers that they needed to "deliberate and ask as to what is the strategy of the Centre to get the country out of the lockdown?" Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi suggested that the "The central piece of strategy to fight Covid-19 is to protect the elderly as also those who are diabetic and with heart condition." Former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram stated, "States are bleeding in terms of finances, but no money is being allocated by GOI. A number of newspapers have brought out the unavailability of finances with states."
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