Mamata asks Centre for Rs.10 lakh crore economic package for States

Published : April 11, 2020 21:53 IST

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. Photo: PTI

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has suggested that the Centre come up with a Rs.10 lakh crore economic and health package for the States in the fight against COVID-19. Addressing a press conference after attending Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s meeting with Chief Ministers on April 11, Mamata said she agreed to the Centre’s proposal to extend the nationwide lockdown until April 30.

“I have asked the Centre to announce an economic and health package of Rs.10 lakh crore for the States to combat the situation. The Government of India has announced a package of 1.7 lakh crore, which is less than one per cent of the GDP of the country. We see Japan spending 20 per cent of its GDP, the U.K. 15 per cent, the U.S. 10 per cent of its GDP; I have suggested that India spend at least 6 per cent of its GDP in fighting this crisis,” said Mamata.

She also demanded that contributions by business houses to State relief funds be considered as part of their corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities. “I raised objection over CSR not being allowed in the State relief funds. If CSR is allowed in the PM CARES Fund, then why should it not be allowed in the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund as well?” said Mamata.

Mamata also urged greater precaution on the international borders. “Bengal has three major international borders and we have information that people have been trying to cross the border into India from different places…. If Bengal’s safety is in danger, then the northeast is also at risk, Bihar is also in danger; and if Bihar is in danger, it will affect all the neighbouring States as well,” she said.

While accepting the Centre’s proposal to extend the lockdown period, Mamata said the lockdown should take place with humaneness. “The Prime Minister himself suggested that the lockdown be extended till April 30 in today’s meeting. We had earlier said that we will abide by the Centre’s decision. We have to stay united in this fight for the country,” she said, insisting that “life and livelihood should be the priority”.

As of April 11, the number of “active” COVID-19 cases in the State stood at 95, of which, according to the Chief Minister, 70 belonged to just 16 families. The number of people officially declared dead due to COVID-19 stood at five.

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