Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray in a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi suggested various measures to be undertaken as the nation goes through the second wave of coronavirus.
CM has urged the centre to consider the COVID-19 pandemic as natural calamity, so that the government can use the state disaster response fund (SDRF) to provide financial assistance to the affected people. All State Disaster Management Acts have been formed as part of the central disaster management law; hence the state needs the Union government’s permission to use the SDRF for helping the pandemic-hit people, a government official said on Thursday.
Maharashtra is the worst-hit states in terms of daily Covid cases being reported and currently under 15-day lockdown like restrictions to break the chain of the spread of the contagious disease.
CM in the letter said-
- The timeline for submitting the GST returns for the month of March-April may be extended by 3 months for small, medium taxpayers.
- In view of the Covid-19 pandemic situation in the state, a mini lockdown is a necessity. A covid-19 pandemic may be notified as a natural calamity for State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF). Accordingly, the State may be allowed to pay Gratuitous Relief (GR) of Rs 100 per adult and Rs 60 per child per day during the period of lockdown to all the Antodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) and Priority House Hold (PHH) family members whose names are included in the AAY and PHH ration cards. They are the ones whose lives are seriously affected due to lockdown. The said expenditure may be allowed from the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) during the current financial year.
- The first instalment of the central share of SDRF may be released to the state to tide over the financial situation arising out of the Covid-19 pandemic.
- Many small scale industries, businesses, start-ups have taken bank loans under different GOI scheme and have supported the country in becoming Atmanirbhar in various sectors. These today are reeling under the impact of Covid restrictions on many economic activities. Even when a sector is not restricted, contraction in demand during these times is quite evident. Given this scenario, we must come out with a helping hand for their survival. It is thus requested that banks may be asked to defer the instalments that are becoming due at least in the first quarter of the current financial year may be postponed without interest. This is akin to Force Majeure for the business relationship between these entrepreneurs and banks.