On Wednesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi encouraged states to decrease value-added tax (VAT) on petrol in the national interest and to foster a sense of cooperative federalism. PM Modi made the appeal during a meeting with Chief Ministers over the Covid crisis. ‘Only through the combined efforts of the Centre and the states has health infrastructure developed,’ he said, adding that collaboration is even more important now as the globe is in the grip of conflict.
‘We need to develop feelings of cooperative federalism, especially with a war scenario affecting the supply chain,’ he stated. Citing an example, the Prime Minister stated that the Union government reduced gasoline tariffs, which some states followed while others did not.
‘As a result, gasoline prices in those states are higher, affecting the citizens in those states. I am not criticizing anyone, but I am requesting that Maharashtra, West Bengal, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Jharkhand, and Tamil Nadu lower VAT immediately and provide benefits to people,’ PM Modi remarked. ‘I am appealing to you for the welfare of your people; in the national interest, please cut VAT for the benefit of your people. What was supposed to be done was not done, so please cooperate now,’ Modi urged.
On Covid-19, PM Modi stated that the government’s objective is to vaccinate all eligible children as soon as possible and that specialized programs in schools will be necessary. According to Modi, the threat of coronavirus is far from over. He warned of the need to be vigilant, citing an increase in COVID-19 instances in various areas in the previous two weeks. ‘Our scientists and professionals are constantly monitoring the situation on a national and worldwide scale. We must take a proactive, pro-active, and collaborative attitude to their proposals,’ he stated.
‘Stopping the illness from the start has always been our objective, and it should remain so even now. We must implement our Test, Track, and Treat strategy with equal vigor. In the current coronavirus situation, it is critical to have a 100% RT-PCR test for patients admitted to hospitals who are serious influenza cases’, he added.