Reacting to the extension of the nationwide lockdown till May 3, Kerala Finance Minister Thomas Issac on Tuesday maintained that his state needs money more than appreciation for the work it has done to mitigate the impact of the lockdown and contain coronavirus spread.
“The only additional money that Kerala received is mere Rs 230 crore and that too for Covid-19 work. The funds we received to tide over revenue deficit is different — we would have got it anyways,” said Issac, who has been demanding more liberal financial assistance from the Centre.
“The need of the hour now is for the Centre to immediately hold a videoconference meeting with all state Finance Ministers. The Centre should borrow more money from the RBI and give it to the states. Otherise, things will be very bad, as the economy, especially rural economy, is tumbling. It needs to be checked,” said the Kerala Minister.
Devasom and Tourism Minister Kadakampally Surendran said the state Cabinet will meet on Wednesday to decide how to go about things till May 3.
“The coronavirus figures reveal that Kerala has done quite well. The Cabinet will decide on how we move forward after looking into the guidelines of the Centre,” said Surendran.
Local Self Government Minister A.C. Moideen said that local farm produce has to reach markets as rural economy revolves around this. The Cabinet will look into this issue as well.
Health Minister K.K. Shailaja stressed the need for maintaining social distancing and asked all to see that the lockdown guidelines were strictly followed.
“Our advantage is that we have been able to contain the spread, but we still have a long way to go. Singapore is the best example — after a slowdown in positive cases, it picked up there. So, let us all continue to maintain strict vigil and wait till Wednesday’s Cabinet meet,” said Shailaja.