India Lockdown: Pay Maharashtra Its Dues, Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar Tells Prime Minister Modi
Maharashtra will fight and win the battle against coronavirus and for that, the Centre should cooperate financially, Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar said in a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
According to an official statement, Pawar told Modi that Maharashtra’s Goods and Services Tax collection plunged by Rs 27,000 crore during March and demanded that the state be given its pending share of the tax from the Centre.
Pawar, also state finance minister, demanded that Maharashtra be given Rs 10,000 crore in grants every month over the next five months "considering the expected deficit in its revenue".
He said Maharashtra should get its GST share in time every month and pitched for increasing the financial deficit limit up to five per cent to combat economic challenges.
The statement said Pawar assured Modi about the state's trade, industrial and financial capabilities.
Pawar, a senior NCP leader, told the prime minister that Maharashtra possesses the strength to defeat coronavirus, but the state's economy has come to a standstill due to the lockdown announced on March 24, and the downward spiral is expected to continue for a few more months.
Considering this fact, the Centre should pay the due grants as per the formula decided without delay, the statement said.
Pawar said Maharashtra government has to spend Rs 10,000 crore per month as salary to staff, Rs 3,000 crore on pensions, Rs 7,000 crore on payment of interest on loans and Rs 3,000 crore on implementing prioritised social schemes.
"Maharashtra has to spend a lot on steps taken to combat coronavirus. Development schemes also need to be implemented simultaneously. It has become difficult for Maharashtra to discharge its key duties as it is not getting due funds from the Centre. The Centre should consider the situation and cooperate," Pawar said in the letter.