Give power to states to decide on conducting economic activities, says Chhattisgarh Chief Minister

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Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel today said that the State Government should be given the power to decide on conducting economic activities within the state.

During a video conferencing meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the chief minister gave various important suggestions regarding prevention of coronavirus, conducting economic activities in the states and providing employment to labourers and villagers.

Mr Baghel said that state governments should be given the responsibility of designating the Red, Green and Orange zones regarding Corona infection. He said the current situation will change with the resumption of rail service. The Chief Minister said that regular train and air services and inter-state bus transport should be started in consultation with the state governments.

He also suggested allowing expenditure of SDRF budget for transportation of workers. Chief Ministers of other states were also present in the video conferencing.

Mr. Baghel said that economic activities have been affected in the state due to Corona infection and lockdown, resulting in loss of revenue. The economically weaker section of society is the most affected due to lockdown. The Chief Minister also urged the prime minister to keep the state's fiscal deficit as an exception this year at 5 per cent of GSDP and relax the borrowing limit to 6 per cent of GSDP.

He also demanded assistance of Rs 30 thousand crore to the state. The Chief Minister said that in order to provide relief to the needy people of Chhattisgarh in the hour of this crisis, the amount, which was donated to the Prime Minister's Care Fund by the industrial institutions of the state as CSR, should be transferred to the state.

Stating that the FCI has taken 24 lakh metric tons of rice from the state, the chief minister requested the Prime Minister to allow it to be increased to 31.11 lakh metric tons. Mr Baghel also emphasised on the inclusion of employees of Police, Municipal Corporation, District Administration and other departments in the PM Garib Kalyan Package on the lines of health workers.

Requesting for the provision of increasing employment under MNREGA from 100 days to 200, the Chief Minister said that with the increase in the days labourers will be provided employment in the village itself in May and June. He added that due to the lockdown, there are lakhs of workers in the state, who have come to the position of completing 100 days of employment. In addition to ICMR's Guidelines for Testing Corona Infections, he also requested to release more testing guidelines.

Giving information to the Prime Minister about the employment being provided to the villagers under MNREGA in the state of Chhattisgarh, the Chief Minister said that the state of Chhattisgarh has 24 per cent participation under MNREGA in the entire country. In the 9 thousand 883 gram panchayats of the state, at present more than 20 lakh villagers are being provided employment in their villages. He also informed that under the Rajiv Gandhi Nyaya Yojana, the state government is starting to disburse an amount of Rs 5100 crore to help the farmers.

Mr Baghel thanked the Government of India for helping in the fight against coronavirus in Chhattisgarh and the Chief Ministers of other states for assistance during the period when labourers hailing from Chhattisgarh were stranded in other states during the lockdown. The chief minister also discussed various issues that he had mentioned in the letters written to the prime minister. The chief minister requested the prime minister to ensure that the additional levy amount of Rs 4 thousand 140 crores deposited to the Coal Ministry by coal blocks of Chhattisgarh should be transferred to the state government immediately.

The Chief Minister said that there are currently 6 corona positive patients in the state and the recovery rate is more than 90 per cent. He said that there were a total of 59 patients in the state, out of which 53 patients have recovered. So far, 25 thousand 282 coronavirus tests have been done in the state and 24 thousand 605 people have been quarantined.

He informed that the first train with labourers hailing from Chhattisgarh has come from Gujarat today and all the passengers were checked and screened. He further said that the state government has made arrangements to keep them in quarantine as well.

In Chhattisgarh, 16 thousand 499 quarantine centers have been set up in rural areas and 623 quarantine centers in urban areas. He said that work has started in the industrial areas of the state. Due to which, 91 thousand 997 workers are getting employment.

The Chief Minister also said that the state government had sought permission for a total of 28 trains to bring back the laborers of Chhattisgarh. 15 of which have been approved. The state government is bearing the entire cost of bringing back workers, students, sick persons stranded in other states. He informed that about one lakh 24 thousand laborers hailing from Chhattisgarh are in other states, while the number of laborers of other states in Chhattisgarh is about 35 thousand.

Speaking about the minor forest produce collection, he said that Chhattisgarh is the leading state in the country in terms of collection of minor forest produce. 90 per cent of the total collection of minor forest produce has been registered in Chhattisgarh and an amount of more than Rs 28.07 crore has been paid to the collectors. A total of 6 lakh 42 thousand 949 forest dwellers have also provided employment in various schemes of the forest department.

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