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Covid-19, another setback to Punjab economy

Already in doldrums, the spread of Coronavirus has come as another big setback for the economy of Punjab. Things are likely to take worse turn in coming days as Punjab government has already been facing serious problems in paying for it’s expenses.

In his latest statement , Punjab Finance Minister (FM) Manpreet Badal has disclosed that state economy has started suffering a loss of Rs 1700 crores every day since the lockdown due to the spread of coronavirus. Since social distancing is the main key to prevent the spread of coronavirus, almost all residents had started avoiding crowding places last week. It led to huge losses to malls, cinema owners and other industrial sectors.

But after the imposing of curfew, all activities including manufacturing, supply, import, export have come to standstill. Even government authorities are facing enormous challenges to ensure the supply of essential commodities to its lockdown residents.

The closedown of everything in state has led to the sharp decline to Value added Tax, which is main source of revenue for state, as the sale of petrol, diesel has gone down to below 10 percent because only two-three petrol pumps have been allowed to operate in almost all cities. The state authorities have been working hard to make required arrangements for three weeks closedown, but if things remain same after three week, it will multiply the problems of state.

Many politicians have been alleging that FM Badal and his government have failed to bring any improvement in the financial condition of state even three years after the formation of government. They have also been alleging that FM is still blaming SAD-BJP government for the financial mess in Punjab as he has failed to take much needed initiatives.

But its not the right time to blame as Coronavirus will not differentiate between Ruling and opposition party leaders and it will destroy all. Its high time for all to take a united stand to save the state from Covid disaster. Being alliance partner with central BJP government, SAD leaders should take up the matter with central government for a special financial package to state while Punjab congress government should focus on improving its defense against Covid rather than issuing frightening statements about the poor financial condition of state.

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