COVID-19: Punjab CM asks all depts to ‘rationalise’ expenses

CM Captain Amarinder Singh.
CM Captain Amarinder Singh.

Expressing grave apprehensions of the prolonged impact of Covid-19, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Monday directed all departments to further rationalise their expenses to ensure no shortage of funds for fighting the pandemic at all costs.

With studies and reports from around the world presenting a grim picture of the Covid outlook, the projections were not good, the Punjab CM said in a video conference meeting of the Empowered Committee of Cabinet on Fiscal Management.

Capt Amarinder made it clear that capital expenditure in essential sectors such as health, education and infrastructure would be retained at Rs 5,000 crore, notwithstanding the economic crisis being faced by the state, which was expecting a shortfall of nearly 30% in the Total Revenue Receipts (TRR) in FY 2020- 21 on account of the COVID and lockdown effect.

Reviewing the economic situation of the state amid the unprecedented crisis, the Chief Minister said that the focus of his government was on ensuring that salaries and pensions continue to be paid on time, along with power subsidy to the PSPCL. No compromise should be made to ensure funding for all frontline departments which work 24×7 in battling the disaster, he added.

To help the state tide over the critical economic situation, Capt Amarinder underlined the need for fast-paced industrial revival.