Punjab CM pitches for continued lockdown

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Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Monday pitched for extension of the lockdown, but with a carefully crafted strategy, backed by fiscal and economic empowerment of the states, to save lives and secure livelihood.

Clearly favouring continuation of strict lockdown, in view of the escalating cases of Covid-19 nationwide, the CM said at the video-conference with Prime Minister Narendra Modi that states needed to be given greater flexibility in micro-planning as part of a carefully planned exit strategy, encompassing both Covid containment and a defined path of economic revival. The Chief Minister suggested that states should be given great flexibility in micro-planning, with MSMEs allowed to function in Red Zone districts with proper safeguards.

The decision on designating the red, orange/yellow and green zones should be left to the states, which were more cognisant of the ground realities, he said. Singh demanded urgent financial assistance to states to meet at least 33% of their committed liabilities, along with revenue grants to the states for three months to meet shortfall in revenue and to fund expenditure on Covid-19.

The Punjab CM also called for a national strategy on Covid testing for making the battle against coronavirus more effective. He also requested for early declaration of MSP on Paddy and a bonus on nonburning of paddy stubble.

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