States ruled by the Congress have suggested that they be given the power to demarcate containment zones instead of the Centre. With the deadline for states to send suggestions to the Centre on the way forward in Lockdown 4.0 looming, The Daily Guardian accessed the key suggestions made by Congress-ruled states. Chhattisgarh Health Minister T.S. Singh Deo said the data with the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) had not been updated and its wrong for the Centre to circle the zones. He added they have suggested that Direct Benefit Transfer is the only way to reach out to the masses. According to Deo, it’s very important for the Centre to return GST dues to the respective states, adding that governance can only be done by Central funds at this time.
Chhattisgarh has also suggested that the ease in lockdown after identification of zones by states can be done and intra-state movement to be allowed to boost state economy. He said the state has suggested that a package for the health sector in fighting Covid-19 is need of the hour. He goes on to add that since a good population of Adivasis reside in the state and comprise 8 percent of the population, Rs 6,000 crore allotted for tribals/adivasis was way too low. Punjab has suggested that the lockdown be extended because of the return of migrants. Punjab thinks the state has suffered heavy losses and it’s time for the Centre to act and return GST dues for efficient running of the government. Punjab also wants DBT for farmers as it is predominantly an agriculture-based economy. Siding with Chhattisgarh, Punjab also wants states to have the prerogative to mark containment zones.