Pegging the April revenue shortfall for the state at 88%, Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Wednesday said with all tax revenues dried up and only 1.5% of the industry currently operational, Punjab was facing a difficult financial situation, which was compounded by absence of aid from the Central government. Participating in a video-conference of chief ministers of Congressruled states with party president Sonia Gandhi, along with former PM Manmohan Singh and former party president Rahul Gandhi, Captain Amarinder shared his state’s Covid-containment strategy and the roadmap for economic revival. During the meeting, Sonia Gandhi asked the CM to convey her congratulations to the farmers of Punjab for a smooth procurement season, with the latter disclosing that more than 100 lakh MT had arrived in the mandis already and the entire procurement process was expected to be completed by mid-May.
As against the estimated revenues of Rs 3,360 crore for April, only Rs 396 crore had been received during the month, the CM disclosed, adding that the state’s power consumption had declined by 30% with a daily loss of Rs 30 crore in collection of electricity tariff to the Punjab State Power Corporation Ltd. In addition, the state’s GST arrears of Rs 4,365.37 crore are yet to be paid by the Government of India, he pointed out. The initial report of the Group of Experts headed by Montek Singh Ahluwalia, on the economic and industrial revival of the state, was likely to be received in three months, and it would take another month after that to refine and finalise the same, said Amarinder Singh.
The CM was of the opinion that the decision on classification of zones as red, orange or green should be left to the states, which, in turn, could authorise the DCs to demarcate as per the ground realities. Providing an update on the Covid status in the state, which has reported a total of 1,451 positive cases with 25 deaths, Singh said there had been a spike in cases in Punjab after those residing outside Punjab started coming back from Rajasthan and Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh. ians Maharashtra.