CHANDIGARH: Appreciating Punjab’s Covid micro-containment and house-to-house surveillance strategy, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday asked all other states to adopt the model, which was helping Punjab control the spread of the pandemic to a significant extent.
An official spokesperson said Modi intervened as chief minister Amarinder Singh was describing the state’s model to combat Covid and suggested that all states should follow the same strategic approach to effectively counter Covid.
Modi was conducting a video conference meeting with chief ministers of Punjab and some other states, as part of his scheduled two-day interactions to review the Covid situation and management strategies of all the states. He will be holding a similar meeting with the chief ministers of the other states tomorrow.
During the meeting, Amarinder suggested to Modi to set up a group, which should include a few chief ministers, to discuss and formulate a coordinated Centre-State response to the devastating impact of Covid on the economy and governments across the country.
During a video conference with the PM, who was joined by union home minister Amit Shah, defence minister Rajnath Singh, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, Amarinder requested that the Centre should work closely with the states to ease the distress caused by the pandemic and the subsequent lockdown.
Amarinder recalled that when, in early April, he had said that Covid could go on till September; he had been called an alarmist by some people. But with experts now warning that the pandemic could continue even beyond September, it was important to learn to co-exist with it and cope with it better, he stressed, underlining the need for the central and state governments to work in close coordination for this.
Amarinder said a detailed memorandum had already been sent to the government of India, listing out the impact of Covid-19 and also seeking fiscal and non-fiscal assistance. Thanking the PM for release of GST payment of around Rs 2800 crore in early June, Amarinder requested for release of the state’s pending share of taxes. The crisis in Punjab was likely to be acute with around Rs. 25,000-30,000 crore shortfalls in revenue collection on various counts, he said.
Even though Punjab’s contribution to the all-India cases was less than 1% (at 3140 cases) at present, with a mortality rate of 2.1% and recovery rate of 75%, the curve was rising as a result of the inbound travellers and the easing of restrictions and more mixing of people. Emphasising the need for more tests, despite the current 5527 tests per million in Punjab being higher than the all India average of 4088, Amarinder reiterated his request to direct GoI institutions in Chandigarh and Punjab to increase testing capacity.