Uddhav writes to PM Modi for financial aid, asks Centre to declare Covid-19 ‘natural calamity’ in Maharashtra
Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray on Thursday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking financial assistance from the Centre as Maharashtra along with the rest of the country battles a surge in coronavirus disease (Covid-19) cases.
Thackeray in his letter asked PM Modi to extend the timeline of the submission of GST returns for the months of March and April by three months for small and medium taxpayers. He also requested the Prime Minister to notify the pandemic in the state as a natural calamity so that the state can access funds from the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF).
Thackeray said the situation in Maharashtra will lead to an imposition of a mini-lockdown and fund from the SDRF will be used to pay gratuitous relief (GR) to families which come under the Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) and the Priority Household (PHH) as these families will be adversely affected during the lockdown. Maharashtra government will pay ₹100 per adult per day and ₹60 per child per day as gratuitous relief (GR) during the lockdown period.
“The first installment of the central share of the SDRF may be released to the state to tide over the financial situation during the current financial year,” Thackeray wrote in his letter.
Requesting the Centre to extend a helping hand to startups, small and medium scale enterprises and various businesses which took loans under different schemes launched by the government the Maharashtra CM urged the Modi government to request banks to defer due instalments in the first quarter of the current financial year without interest. “This is akin to force majeure for business relationships between these entrepreneurs and banks,” the letter said.
Maharashtra has been reeling from a severe spike in Covid-19 cases with the state recording more than 50,000 cases daily for more than a week. The state reported 63,294 cases of Covid-19 on April 11, recording the highest single-day tally since the onset of the pandemic. Maharashtra active cases tally stood at 612,070 on Wednesday and the death toll touched 58,804 with 278 fresh fatalities.