covid impact: Extend lockdown by 2 weeks, increase FRBM limit: Telangana CM

HYDERABAD: Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao on Saturday suggested to Prime Minister Narendra Modi that the ongoing lockdown be extended for two more weeks to check the spread of coronavirus.

He made this suggestion during an interactive meeting Modi held with Chief Ministers of all states through videoconferencing.

During the lockdown, the Chief Minister said the food processing industry should be allowed to function to ensure that farmers are not put to losses and that there was no difficulty in essential commodities supply, an official release quoted him as saying.

“Lockdown has helped in containing the spread of Corona (coronavirus) to a great level. It is better to extend the lockdown for two more weeks. There is no other better solution than this, he said.

Rao also requested Modi to increase the FRBM (Fiscal Responsibility and Budgetary Management) limit to five per cent from the existing three, besides taking steps to postpone repayment of interest states’ debts for six months.

Increase FBRM from 3 per cent to 5 per cent. The Centre should take the initiative to postpone for six months, the monthly interest paid by States on debts from the Centre, he said.

He suggested that a task force with the PM as chairman and cabinet ministers as members be set up to come out with an action plan on helping farmers and the policy to be implemented on the economic situation.

To counter (economic crisis) this we need a strategic economic policy. RBI should implement quantitative easing policy. This is called Helicopter Money. This will facilitate the States and financial institutions to accrue funds.

We can come out of the financial crisis.

Release 5 percent of funds from the GDP through Quantitative easing Policy, he suggested.

The Chief Minister said that in order to empty warehouses of Food Corporation of India, three months ration should be given to people and the depots should be filled with newly procured agricultural commodities during the current season.

To prevent crowding of farmers at one place, the Telangana government has set up 6,849 procurement centres at village level, from where foodgrains are procured, he said.

He urged Modi to link agriculture with the MNREGA (Mahatma Gandhi Employment Guarantee Act) Scheme for at least two months.

Bring a policy by which farmers would pay half the wages for labourers and the other half would be from the MNAREGA funds. With this we will be able to support farmers during difficult times, he said.

He lauded the Centre for extending required support to states in checking the spread of COVID-19.

The support is giving us great moral courage. India will be victorious in its war against coronavirus, Rao said.

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