Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Saturday sought urgent intervention by the Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to mitigate the outbreak caused by coronavirus in the state. He asked for an immediate release of GST compensation arrears of Rs. 2088 crore, specific only to Punjab as well as deferment of installments of Industrial and Agricultural Crop loans by the Commercial Banks.
In a letter to Finance Minister, the Chief Minister sought some additional urgent steps to mitigate the crisis from Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman caused by the outbreak of COVID-19 global pandemic. Union Finance Minister had earlier called up the Chief Minister, who subsequently sent her a detailed letter listing out certain important proposals to help out the state in this critical time.
Captain Amarinder Singh conveyed to Nirmala Sitharaman that for opening the banks, he had asked the State Finance Department to issue some necessary guidelines to facilitate the common man in meeting his banking requirements. In addition to the Punjab-specific GST compensation arrears, Punjab CM proposed that the balance GST compensation due may be released with other States.
The Chief Minister further proposed that the Centre should ask the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to raise the ways and means advances for all the States to tide over the shortfall in receipts. He also suggested that the Government of India may raise the borrowing limit of States under the FRBM Act from 3% to 4%.
In addition to deferment of installments of Industrial loans, the Chief Minister asked that the Commercial Banks should defer loan installments for Agriculture/Crop loans, which the Punjab Government had already done for the State Cooperative Banks. Further, he has also sought a waiver of three months’ interest in Agricultural/ Crop loans by Commercial Banks.