Around 10 lakh jobs have been lost in Punjab and the state is set to lose Rs 50,000 crore this year due to the coronavirus lockdown, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said on Sunday while hinting at some “tough measures” to ensure revenue generation.
In an interview to PTI, Amarinder Singh said the state was losing Rs 3,000 crore every month on the economic front.
The chief minister said that with some experts predicting the virus to peak in July and August, Punjab is preparing “for the worst” and the massive influx of migrants workers and those living outside the country is emerging as the greatest challenge in managing the virus spread.
“In April alone, we lost 88 per cent of our estimated revenue due to the lockdown. As per quick estimates, we are losing Rs 3,000 crore a month, and are looking at minimum Rs 50,000 crore in losses for the full year,” Mr Singh said.
As for the job losses, he said, “initial estimates suggest the figure to be in the range of around 10 lakh, but clarity will come only once the COVID situation starts stabilizing”.
Noting that the financial situation is “extremely critical”, Mr Singh said he has already asked all the “non-essential” departments to cut down on expenses and manage their costs judiciously.
“But, that is obviously not enough, so we will have to take some tough decisions,” he said referring to fresh taxation measures.
He said deliberations are on and the state is mulling various options and will take a decision in the next couple of days.
Mr Singh called for an urgent economic package for the states, saying with no GST, excise duty or VAT coming from transportation, all resources have dried up.
Punjab is seeing the situation worsening going forward, unless the centre steps in, the chief minister said. The state has reported nearly 2,000 coronavirus cases and 32 deaths so far.