Exclusive | ‘Rescheduled Budget’: C’garh CM on Rs 20 L Cr Package

In an interview with The Quint, CM Bhupesh Baghel also spoke about the migrant crisis and the COVID-19 outbreak.

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With the nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of coronavirus taking a severe toll on the Indian economy, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel has slammed the Centre's Rs 20 lakh crore economic package, saying there's nothing new in it and the country will not benefit from it.

In an exclusive interview with The Quint's Editorial Director Sanjay Pugalia, the Chhattisgarh CM said, "(Finance Minister) Nirmala Sitharaman has rescheduled the Budget and put it in front of the country. No section has got anything much from this... There's nothing new (in this package), there's nothing which is outside the Budget, everything comes under the Budget. Only the attire has been changed. The country will not benefit from this."

Asserting that the coronavirus outbreak has been under control in Chhattisgarh, Baghel also spoke about the states’ borrowing limits and the conditions imposed, as well as the concept of cooperative federalism amid the COVID-19 lockdown.

The state has recorded a total of 93 COVID-19 cases so far, with 59 of the patients having been cured or discharged, according to the Health Ministry data. No death has been reported in the state so far.

On the crisis of migrant workers, Baghel said, "When one knew that the lockdown is going to carry on for long, they should have appealed to the people (in the beginning) to go back to their homes. People would have made their arrangements then... By the third phase of the lockdown, people lost their patience and the labourers decided to go back home no matter what the conditions are. The situation is such that no matter how many trains or buses are arranged by the Centre or states, (the migrants) are going back home by paying for trucks, buses, autos, jeeps, cars."

Thousands of migrant workers found themselves stranded across the country when the lockdown was first announced on 25 March. Since then, with public transport halted, many of them chose to walk back home, sometimes covering distances of thousands of kilometres.

Since early May, special 'shramik' trains and buses are being run to carry them back, but the migrant crisis is far from over.

Watch the video above for the full interview.

(The Quint is available on Telegram. For handpicked stories every day, subscribe to us on Telegram)

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