Controversial journalist Rajdeep Sardesai on Saturday took to Twitter to falsely claim that Punjab government has got only Rs 71 crore from the Modi government to fight the Chinese pandemic coronavirus.
Taking to Twitter, Rajdeep Sardesai claimed that Punjab Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal said to him that centre had given the state just Rs 71 crore as an aid to fight the coronavirus battle.
Calling it ‘crazy’, Rajdeep Sardesai not only batted in favour of the Congress-ruled Punjab but also lobbied on behalf of the Punjab government to open up liquor sales to boost excise revenue.
Punjab finance minister @MSBADAL claims state has just got RS 71 crore from Centre to fight Covid.. 71 crore!!that’s crazy. No wonder Punjab wants liquor vends to open so that they get much needed excise revenue. Remember: Covid can’t be fought from Delhi and not without monies!— Rajdeep Sardesai (@sardesairajdeep) April 25, 2020
Rajdeep Sardesai also shared his knowledge on dealing with the epidemic, by claiming that the coronavirus crisis cannot be fought without funds from the centre. During his interview, Rajdeep Sardesai did not even care to fact-check the Punjab Minister on his claims regarding aid from the centre.
Punjab government has received more Rs 247 crore from the centre
The Union government has already released its share of the first instalment of State Disaster Risk Management Fund (SDRMF) for the year 2020-21, amounting to Rs 11,092 crores to augment funds available with the state governments. Out of the funds, the Punjab government has received Punjab Rs 247 crore from the total share contrary to claims of Rajdeep Sardesai and Punjab Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal.
The SDRF is the primary fund available with state governments for responses to notified disasters to meet the expenditure for providing immediate relief to the victims. The central government contributes 75% of SDRF allocation for general category States and Union Territories and 90% for special category States.
As SDRF funds are majorly contributed by the Union government, the funds received by the Punjab government to fight the coronavirus can be categorically classified as an ‘aid’ from the centre.
Further, the Union Finance Ministry has transferred its share of Rs 823.16 crore from Central Taxes and Duties in April.
Addition to that, the Punjab government has also received Rs 638.25 crore from post-devolution Revenue Deficit grant from the centre. The centre has also transferred more than Rs 1.2 lakh crore as GST compensation to Punjab government.
Rajdeep Sardesai and Punjab minister brazens out
As netizens pointed out that Rajdeep Sardesai had resorted to peddling fake news, the controversial journalist responded to them by claiming Punjab Minister had stated to him the state had only got Rs 71 crore from the centre.
Punjab FM @MSBADAL: I maintain Punjab has got only 71 cr from Centre. remaining money centre has given is business-as usual- distri of consti mandated devolution of one kind or other eg states’ share of central taxes, GST compen/revenue deficit grants. No correlation with covid. https://t.co/4YbALdcW8O— Rajdeep Sardesai (@sardesairajdeep) April 26, 2020
Rajdeep further claimed that the remaining money centre given to Punjab was ‘business-as-usual’ as it was distributed according to the constitution, which mandates devolution of share of central taxes and it is not related to coronavirus.
However, both the Punjab Minister and Rajdeep Sardesai are deliberately silent on the Rs. 247.50 crores received by the state government from the centre from the Disaster Management fund.