The Shiv Sena on Friday slammed the Modi government over the economic crisis faced by the country, saying demonetisation and "mishandling" of the coronavirus-induced lockdown were to be blamed for the current situation. An editorial in party mouthpiece 'Saamana' criticised the NDA government for what it called trying to "wash its hands of the crisis".
"On March 13, Union health minister Harsh Vardhan said there was no health emergency in the country, while on March 22, the Prime Minister imposed a one-day 'janata curfew' on March 24 announced a 21-day lockdown with just four-hour notice," the Marathi daily said. "The chaos and uncertainty which began that day continue even now," the former BJP ally said and added the centre "mishandled" the lockdown.
The editorial said the need of the hour is that the centre stands firmly with states during this crisis. "The (Congress-led) UPA government had extended all assistance to the government of Gujarat (ruled by BJP). It is the job of the Centre.
"At least 22 per cent of revenue in the Centre'sexchequer comes from Mumbai. But the Centre is not ready to help states. "Maharashtra, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Delhi have borne the maximum brunt of COVID 19 and suffered losses worth Rs 14.4 lakh crore," the Sena publication said.
The paper said the Centre announced a relief package of Rs 20 lakh crore during the lockdown, but it's a mystery where the money has gone. The editorial said several states have sought financial assistance from the Centre to deal with the crisis triggered by the COVID-19 outbreak and the subsequent lockdown.
Maharashtra, where the Sena heads the ruling coalition, has asked for its GST share of Rs 23,000 crore, it said. In September, the Centre stopped supply of medical equipment (needed to fight COVID-19) due to which Rs 300 crore burden will be on the state exchequer (in Maharashtra), the daily said.
Since the Centre is responsible for the economic crisis, it should take loan from the World Bank and help states, the editorial said. The Indian economy contracted by 23.9 per cent in the April-June quarter of this fiscal amid the COVID-19 crisis, official data showed.