Stating that the fight against the coronavirus pandemic will be a long one which will have a bearing on the Indian economy, NCP chief Sharad Pawar on Wednesday asked the Centre to start considering measures to restore the financial health of the country.
During the meeting of leaders of various parties with Prime Minister Narendra Modi via video conference on Wednesday, Pawar also suggested about relaxing the ongoing lockdown in certain areas after ensuring there is no compromise on health and lives of the people.
"The fight against COVID-19 pandemic will be long-running. This may have a bearing on the world and Indian economy. There is a need to take appropriate steps. In all, the Centre should mull steps to uplift the economy now on," Pawar told Modi, according to his Facebook post.
Calling for focussing on boosting revenue of states, Pawar, whose party shares power with the Shiv Sena and Congress in Maharashtra, demanded release of GST compensation to respective state governments.
Requesting the Centre to slash non-plan expenditure, Pawar asked the government to consider delaying construction of the new 'Sansad Bhavan' (Parliament Building).
Observing that industries and farmers are hit hard by the coronavirus crisis, Pawar asked the PM to ensure relief for these sections.
Pawar also said that "it is being heard" that governors in some states are directly issuing orders to the executive.
He said governors should first consult with respective chief ministers and chief secretaries to ensure that there are
no two power centres working simultaneously.
Apropos to the last month's religious meeting organised by Tablighi Jamaat in Delhi's Nizamuddin, which turned out to be a major source of coronaviorus infection in the country, Pawar cautioned against blaming a particular community for the infection spread.
"It is not right to blame any community or charge it with spreading the disease," he said, adding that the focus should now be on containing the spread of the disease.
The former Union agriculture minister further asked the Centre to take care of those who do not possess Aadhaar or ration cards and have failed to get food during the ongoing crisis.
He also called for dealing sternly with the forces which are trying to communalise the situation and pitching one community against another through the media and social media.
"The media too should take care that there is no divide caused between communities by repeating reports of a particular incident," he added.
The Prime Minister in the meeting with floor leaders of opposition and other parties in Parliament discussed the situation arising out of the COVID-19 pandemic and the government's efforts to contain the fast-spreading virus in the country.
Modi interacted with 18 leaders from different parties. Most of them were from opposition parties.(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed - PTI)