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    Centre not serious about releasing money owed to states, alleges Derek O'Brien of TMC

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    Centre not serious about releasing money owed to states, alleges Derek O'Brien of TMC

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    TMC senior leader and Member of Parliament, Derek O'Brien, spoke to CNBC-TV18 about lockdown timing. He said that the Mamta Banerjee government has taken a view that this cannot very be a total lockdown.

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to address the nation on Tuesday morning, the day the 21-day lockdown ends. Modi held a video conference with chief ministers and in an online post afterward, said there was consensus amongst the states on an extension by another two weeks.
    TMC senior leader and Member of Parliament, Derek O'Brien, spoke to CNBC-TV18 about lockdown timing. He said that the Mamta Banerjee government has taken a view that this cannot very be a total lockdown.
    "It can be a partial lockdown, you can call it a calibrated lockdown or you can call it a humane lockdown. In practical terms, physical distancing is very important and we insist that people should stay at home. If you do have to come out in Bengal then wear a mask, but having said that grocery stores are open from 8 in the morning till 6 in the evening. Vegetable is freely available across the state, confectionery shops are open.”
    Speaking about West Bengal's preparedness, O'Brien said, "There is a global advisory board on public health economics that is headed by Abhijit Banerjee – the Nobel Economics Prize winner. There are other public policy experts and economists on that board reporting directly to the chief minister. West Bengal has 8 different task forces each headed by the principal secretaries and they are giving inputs to the CM’s office.”
    Talking about GST compensation he said, “If the Centre is serious about federalism, I don’t know why they are not serious then about releasing the money which is owed to states like mine – which is Rs 61,000 crore. They need to put the money where their mouth is. If not the Rs 61,000 crore now at least the backlog. The backlog is the whopping Rs 36,000 crore owed to the state of West Bengal.”
     
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