Hyderabad, May 6 : Union Minister of State for Home G. Kishan Reddy on Wednesday revealed that the Centre allowed reopening of liquor shops during the third phase of the nationwide lockdown following requests from Chief Ministers of different states.
He said during a videoconference with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, these Chief Ministers, including of BJP-ruled states, sought reopening of liquor shops, citing loss of revenue to the states since the beginning of the lockdown in March.
The Chief Ministers told the Prime Minister that their states don't even have money to pay salaries to their government employees.
Reddy revealed this during a webinar organized by the Federation of Telangana Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FTCCI) on 'Understanding MHA guidelines'.
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has allowed reopening of liquor shops in all three zones -- green, orange and red.
Karunendra S Jasti, President, FTCCI, said the industry was pained to see the reopening of liquor shops in red zones but not the shops dealing in essentials.
Reddy also claimed that many US companies with operating base in China are now looking towards India, post Covid-19.
He said the Uttar Pradesh government on Wednesday morning had a web discussion with many US companies, of which 60 evinced interest to relocate to India from China.
Reddy said the central government was taking all measures to control the coronavirus and at the same time opening up the economic activities in orange and green zones. He claimed that so far Rs 2,50,000 crore were spent in fighting Covid at the central and state levels.
He said in March the country had one testing lab in Pune but now it has 821 testing labs. "As many as 251,523 isolated dedicated beds for Covid patients have been made ready along with 27,000 ICU beds. The government has placed orders for 60,884 ventilators, of which we have already got 19,000," Reddy said.
The Minister said the government made arrangements for the travel of migrant labourers to their hometowns by arranging buses and trains on humanitarian grounds.
He said 107 trains were pressed into service till Wednesday for the migrant people in 12 states.
He said the central government was also bringing in Indians stranded abroad.
The first lot of 14,000 people will return to India starting May 8 in 64 flights from 12 countries. More than 1,90,000 Indian had registered to come back home from abroad. Priority will be given to deportees, those with expired visas and health issues and medical emergency.
Reddy said economic activity was opened in all zones with minimum activities in red zones, to bring back the Indian economy on track.
The government of India needs suggestions from experts and industry bodies like FTCCI on the ways and means to generate employment and skill development post covid-19.
"Migrant labour leaving for their home towns will impact the industrial activity. They will not return in the next 3-4 months. Hence, companies should try to convince their labour to stay back," the Minister said.