The Congress on Saturday appealed to the central government to empower states in their fight against coronavirus by providing them with more finances and resources.
Congress spokesperson Supriya Shrinate said the Centre should also take state governments on board while evolving strategies to fight the deadly disease. "We have talked about cooperative federalism. Time has come that we should walk the talk. The Centre should take the states together with it, empower them by providing them with more finances and resources. It is only when the states are capable and when the Centre has decentralised, that we can win this war against coronavirus," she said.
Addressing a press conference via video, she said states are at the forefront of the fight against coronavirus, while implementing and executing various policies on the ground.
The Congress leader said the Centre should provide Rs one lakh crore to states to fight COVID-19, besides releasing pending GST dues of Rs 42,000 crore to state governments with immediate effect.
"The states at this time are facing the biggest financial crisis in fighting the virus. The central government should provide a Rs 1 lakh crore package for states to fight COVID-19," she told reporters.
Shrinate said despite assurances, the GST revenue that was to be compensated to states by the central government had not been done.
She also raised the demand for providing loans to states at zero per cent interest and urged the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to enable such facilities in consultation with the central government.
The Congress spokesperson said states, unlike the central government, do not have enough capital and financial resources at their disposal.
A demand to allow trucks carrying essential commodities, stranded at state borders, was also made to help maintain the supply chain in the country which is giving rise to their shortage and consequent price rise.