Ex-PM Manmohan Singh to guide in reviving Punjab’s economy post COVID-19

PTI, Apr 28, 2020, 11:17 AM IST

Chandigarh: Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Monday said former prime minister Manmohan Singh has accepted his request to provide guidance to the state in restoring the economy of Punjab post-COVID-19 situation.

The state government has already constituted a group of experts, headed by noted economist and former deputy chairman of the Planning Commission, Montek Singh Ahluwalia to come out with a post-COVID-19 strategy to revive the state’s economy.

“I had written to Dr. Manmohan Singh Ji to guide us along with the group of experts headed by Montek Singh Ahluwalia & I am grateful to him for accepting. We have been working hard to steer Punjab to the path of economic growth & post-COVID-19 we will again focus on the same,” the chief minister tweeted.

Meanwhile, the group of experts headed by Ahluwalia, had its introductory meeting through video conferencing on Monday and set up five sub-groups – finance, agriculture, health, industry, and social aid to further streamline its working, an official release said.

Ahluwalia commented that the task before the group was momentous, but we will definitely come out with some solutions to steer the state’s recovery.

The chief minister said the state’s financial situation was grim with monthly revenue losses to the tune of Rs 3,360 crore.

This includes losses on account of Goods and Services Tax (Rs 1,322 crore), state excise on liquor (Rs 521 crore), motor vehicle tax (Rs 198 crore), VAT on petrol and diesel (Rs 465 crore), electricity duty (Rs 243 crore), stamp duty (Rs 219 crore) and non-tax revenue (Rs 392 crore), he said.

The state’s cash inflows have completely dried up, Singh said, adding power consumption has declined by 30 percent with a daily loss of Rs 30 crore in the collection of electricity tariffs to the state power utility.

Punjab’s industry has been shut down, with less than one percent of the working. In addition, the state’s GST arrears of Rs 4,365.37 crore is yet to be paid by the Government of India, he lamented.

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