NEW DELHI: Most opposition leaders who attended the interaction with PM Narendra Modi on Wednesday were in favour of a “phased” exit from the lockdown but also sought more financial assistance from the Centre and ramping up testing facilities in states.
Trinamool Congress’s Sudip Bandopadhyay asked the Centre not to stop MPLADS allocations as the funds were used for people in constituencies, and said the MPs were ready to give up their entire salary. He also demanded a package for daily wage earners, while saying layoffs should be avoided.
“I have requested the PM for a financial moratorium (for debt servicing) for West Bengal and to give a financial package of Rs 25,000 crore as demanded by chief minister Mamata Banerjee. I have also requested him not to suspend MPLADS funds and told him that we are ready to give away our full salary,” he said.
NCP chief Sharad Pawar suggested that the lockdown be relaxed in certain areas. He demanded release of GST compensation amount to state governments and asked the Centre to cut non-plan expenditure besides delaying construction of a new Parliament building.
CPM’s Elamaram Kareem said the government should immediately transfer Rs 5,000 to all Jan Dhan accounts and BPL and unorganised sector workers. He also wanted the government to invoke the unemployment benefit clause under MGNREGA to pay allowances to agricultural workers and others losing work due to the lockdown.
Kareem also sought release of GST arrears of nearly Rs 3,000 crore to Kerala and immediate release of 50% of revenue deficit grant of Rs 15,323 crore recommended by the 15th Finance Commission for 2020-21.