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Punjab CM terms Sitharaman's announcements as 'inadequate' to address concerns of people, industry

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Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Tuesday expressed disappointment over the announcements made by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, terming them as "inadequate" to address the concerns of the people, businesses and industry in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak gripping the nation.

"The announcements made by Sitharaman do not fully reflect the concerns in the prevailing situation, said Singh.

He further underlined the need for a comprehensive package to build the confidence of all sectors of the economy and support the poor and underprivileged in the hour of need.

It was the need of the hour for the Centre to urgently come out with a detailed economic package without further delay, said the Chief Minister, pointing out that the Finance Minister had failed to come out with details of the task force announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to work on such a package.

"No suggestions had been taken so far from the states on the composition of the task force, nor any details shared. Hoping that it would be representative and would rise to the occasion triggered by this unprecedented crisis. Noting that Punjab had already sent in its suggestions to the Prime Minister and the Union Finance Minister on the interventions required by the central government," he said.

The Chief Minister said that he had hoped for more than a mere postponement of the date of filing tax returns.

"Even the due date has not been changed in spite of the fact that most states are under curfew/lockdown. The Finance Minister had even failed to make any mention of EMIs on loan repayments and default," Singh said.

"There was no adequate attention being paid to the plight of the poor especially the unorganised workers, which all the states had been pressing for. There was an urgent need, to double the PDS quota and provide free of cost ration at least for two months to the people in the prevailing situation, as already sought by the Punjab government," he added.

The Chief Minister pointed out that he had also sought from the Centre lump sum assistance for stakeholders in tourism and hospitality sector, such as taxi drivers, freelance tour guides, unregistered tour operators, 'daabawalas' and restaurants, who had been severely hit by the lockdowns across states.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, March 24 2020. 20:13 IST