Yechruy demands Rs 2,000 crore, GST relaxation for Kerala

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New Delhi, Aug 21 (IANS) CPI-M General Secretary Sitaram Yechury on Tuesday demanded hiking of monetary central assistance to Rs 2,000 crore for rehabilitation work in Kerala post devastating floods besides seeking relaxation in the GST in order to allow the state to raise more funds on its own.

In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Yechury said with their homes and possessions gone, lakhs of people are staring at an uncertain future in Kerala and that “massive resources” would be required for the rehabilitation of these people.

“You have sanctioned Rs 500 crore central assistance, but this is grossly inadequate in the light of the extensive damage that has been caused. I would request you to increase this amount to Rs 2,000 crore,” Yechury said in the letter.

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He also reminded the Pirme Minister of the assurance given in Parliament that provisions in the Goods and Services Tax (GST) would be made for states facing natural calamities.

“You will recollect that during the discussion on the GST Bill, I had raised concerns in Parliament on how the state government could raise resources required to meet such natural disasters. The Central government had then assured that such provisions would be made when such circumstances arise,” he said.

“Though no such provisions were provided, now is the time to redeem the assurance from the government on the floor of the House and allow the state government of Kerala to take required measures by relaxing the concerned GST provisions,” he added.

The CPI-M leader also asked the Prime Minister to waive the duties on the relief materials/ money being sent by various Malayalee organisations from abroad.

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Yechury also urged Modi to release funds under various central schemes such as Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana for building homes, and asked the Indian Army’s Engineering Corps and the Border Roads Organisation to assist the state government in reconstructing bridges and roads.

“In order to rebuild the communication networks, it is urged that the Central government agencies like the National Highway Authority of India and other central agencies be asked to deploy their resources and personnel,” Yechury said, urging the Prime Minister to consider his proposals “with the seriousness that they merit”.

–IANS

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