Hyderabad: Finance Minister T Harish Rao asked the Centre to increase the FRBM (Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management) limit from 4 per cent to 5 per cent in order to compensate for loss of Rs 4,100 crore incurred by the State due to lockdown in May. Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman responded positively and assured to consider the suggestion from State.
Participating in the 44th GST Council meeting virtually from BRKR Bhavan on Saturday, Harish Rao said due to the ongoing lockdown and the Covid-19 pandemic, the financial condition of the State is in bad shape. He stated that increase in FRBM limit will not only boost the economy, but would also create jobs for those who lost livelihood due to the Covid-19 pandemic-induced lockdowns in the country.
The Finance Minister urged the Centre to expedite supply of Covid-19 vaccines to the States and take up the free vaccination programme at the earliest to save scores of lives. He pointed out that the Covid-19 vaccine was not being produced domestically enough to meet the needs of the country. Hence, he suggested the Centre to make the vaccines available to the people in a planned and expeditious manner even if it was required to import them from abroad. “Amid warnings from the scientists about the third wave of Covid pandemic, the Centre must expedite its efforts and launch a vaccination programme at the earliest,” he added.
Harish Rao extended support to the recommendations of Group of Ministers chaired by Meghalaya Chief Minister Kanrad Sangma for reducing the GST on medicines and also equipment required for treatment of patients suffering from Covid-19, black fungus and other related ailments. He thanked the committee members and officials for recommending to reduce GST on oxygen concentrators, oximeters, hand sanitisers, ventilators and other equipments required to treat Covid-19 patients.
Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar and other officials from the Finance department were also present.