Punjab seeks Centre’s help to ramp up health infrastructure


Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Saturday urged the Central government to consult with the State before fixing priorities for COVID-19 vaccination. With the database of healthcare and frontline workers frozen on the Centre’s app, several such workers of the State who want to register have been left out, Capt. Amarinder said.

In his speech at the NITI Aayog meeting, the Chief Minister also urged the Central government to provide immediate financial assistance of at least ₹300 crore to upgrade health infrastructure, equipment and other healthcare needs (medicines and consumables etc.) in view of the pandemic.

‘Release GST amount’

The Chief Minister also requested the Central government to release the pending amount of GST compensation to the State, amounting to ₹8,253 crore for the period April 2020 to January 2021.

He reiterated the State’s demand for releasing the GST compensation on monthly basis in the coming fiscal year, and sought extension in the period of GST compensation beyond the current 5 years for States like Punjab.

He also urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to ensure urgent resolution of the ongoing farm unrest by the Centre “to the satisfaction of the protesting farmers by addressing all their grievances”. He reiterated his government’s stand that agriculture is a State subject and law-making on it should be left to the States in the true spirit of “cooperative federalism” enshrined in the Constitution.

Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal sought the Central government’s intervention in resolving the long pending issue of the Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) and the Hansi-Butana Link Canals so that the State could get its legitimate share of river water.

“To overcome the water shortage problem in the State, the government will soon be signing a Memorandum of Understanding for the Kishau dam. Besides this, MoUs have already been signed with the Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh governments for Lakhwar and Renuka dam,” said Mr. Lal, speaking at meeting of the NITI Aayog through videoconferencing.

Mr. Lal said at present maximum area of the State is getting converted into dark zone, therefore if the SYL and Hansi-Butana Link Canal issues are resolved then the problem of water scarcity in Haryana would be addressed immediately.

He said though Haryana is at the forefront in GST collection, it gets only 20% of the same due to Input Tax Credit. Mr. Lal urged the Prime Minister to formulate a plan for incentivising the States having the maximum GST collection.

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