Allow states to avail extra GSDP borrowing without conditions’: Chhattisgarh CM to Centre

Chhattisgarh chief mnister Bhupesh Baghel has asked Centre to allow states governments to avail the additional borrowing limit of 2% and enhance their resources during the Covid-19 crisis without any conditions.

In a letter to Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Baghel asked her to reconsider the Centre’s decision to link the increased borrowing limit of states to specific reforms, adding that the economic packages announced by the Centre to deal with Covid-19 crisis and the ensuing lockdown were insufficient to revive the economy.

The chief minister said that considering the demand of states, the Centre has allowed an additional borrowing limit of 2 per cent of GSDP, but the state governments are unable to avail the benefit due to non-fulfilment of conditions and norms.

“The problem of scarcity of resource remains unchanged for the states and the responsibility of the state government has increased even more as economic packages announced by the Centre to deal with the anomalous situation arising due to the Corona crisis and nationwide lockdown are also insufficient to revive the economy and meet the needs of the common people,” the CM wrote.

The CM said that in present crisis it is the states’ priority to provide free food grains to the poor families, regular salary to the salaried people and proper health facilities for all. To provide relief to the people of the state, it is necessary to take prompt and effective action in this direction along with additional financial resources, he added.

Baghel further said that automation of fair price shops including installation of POS machines in remote and forest areas is a difficult target for the state to achieve as 14 districts of Chhattisgarh are affected by LWE activities. Similarly, there are many technical hurdles in implementing the DBT system by ending the power subsidy being given to farmers in the agrarian state, he added. The chief minister said that although these reforms are quite important, this does not seem an appropriate time for these changes.

“…In the present situation, it is more important that the state governments satisfactorily fulfil the immediate and primary responsibilities of public welfare and requested the union minister to allow the states to avail the additional borrowing limit and enhance their resources during the Covid-19 crisis without any conditions,” the CM said.

As part of her final tranche on the Centre’s Rs 20 lakh crore economic stimulus package last month, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had announced that an increase in the borrowing limits of states from 3% to 5% of the Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) for the year 2020-21, subject to their carrying out specific reforms.

Chattisgarh reported 14 new Covidd-19 cases on Tuesday, taking its total count to 1,211, PTI reported quoting a state health official.

There are 859 active cases in the state while five people have died of Covid-19.