Manmohan Singh to guide Punjab govt in reviving economy from Coronavirus crisis

Chandigarh (Punjab) [India], April 27 (ANI): Former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh on Monday accepted Punjab CM Captain Amarinder Singh's request to provide guidance to the state government to restore the state's growth and economy post-COVID-19.

"The Punjab Government took the initial steps towards formulating the state's post-COVID revival strategy, with the Montek Singh Ahluwalia led Group of Experts setting up five sub-groups," said an official statement.

The Group of Experts, headed by Montek Singh Ahluwalia, had its introductory meeting, through Video Conference, with the Chief Minister today.

"We have been working hard to steer Punjab to the path of economic growth and post COVID-19, we will again focus on the same," CM tweeted, according to the statement.

Montek informed that five sub-groups - Finance, agriculture, health, industry and social aid - had been set up to further streamline the Group's working, he said, adding that the chairpersons of each of these Groups would mobilise workers to take the agenda forward.

According to the statement, as the Chief Minister stressed the need for the Central Government to come up with solutions as Punjab was in a dire state, Montek said the task before the group was momentous but 'we will definitely come out with some solutions' to steer the state's recovery.

Amarinder told the Group that the state's financial situation was grim, with monthly revenue losses to the tune of Rs 3360 crores.

The state's cash inflows had completely dried up, said the Chief Minister, adding that Power consumption had declined by 30 percent with a daily loss of Rs. 30 crores in the collection of electricity tariff to the Punjab State Power Corporation Ltd.

The Chief Minister highlighted that state's industry has been shut down, with less than 1 percent of them working.

"In addition, State's GST arrears of Rs 4365.37 crore are yet to be paid by the Central Government," the CM added.

Singh outlined that agriculture was currently offering the only bright side to the situation, with the state having a bumper wheat crop, which will be followed by cotton and paddy.

The Chief Minister hoped the Centre would soon extend the much-needed relief package to the state to help it tide over the current unprecedented crisis, with huge socio-economic implications. (ANI)