Amarinder Singh tried to emphasise that the scenario was not conducive for holding physical examination for JEE-NEET. He, however, did not disclose how many of Punjab MLAs and ministers have recovered so far.
Image Courtesy Zee News
New Delhi: Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Wednesday (August 26) said that 23 ministers and MLAs were coronavirus positive two days before the Vidhan Sabha session on August 28, during a video conference convened by Congress President Sonia Gandhi with the chief ministers of seven Opposition-ruled states to discuss various issues.
Citing this, Amarinder Singh tried to emphasise that the scenario was not conducive for holding physical examination for JEE-NEET. He, however, did not disclose how many of Punjab MLAs and ministers have recovered so far.
Through an official release, he said “As of today, two days before the scheduled Punjab Vidhan Sabha session, 23 Ministers/MLAs were COVID positive.”
The Punjab CM said, “If this was the state of the legislators and ministers, one can only imagine how grave the situation on the ground was. The scenario was not conducive to holding physical examinations.”
Amarinder Singh reportedly asked his state Advocate General to coordinate with his counterparts in other opposition-ruled states for filing a collective review petition in the Supreme Court, to seek deferment of the NEET-JEE exams.
He gave the directive to AG Atul Nanda following a video conference meeting convened by Congress president Sonia Gandhi with the chief ministers of seven opposition-ruled states to discuss the key issues, including delay in GST compensation release, the farm ordinances, and the new education policy.
According to the government release, Amarinder Singh suggested that the JEE-NEET (Joint Entrance Exam & National Eligibility and Entrance Test) and other professional exams like medical and law could also be held online and there was no need to put the students at risk.
Stating that what the states were seeking was not the moon but their own dues, the CM also suggested that a delegation of all the opposition-ruled chief ministers should meet the prime minister to press for the release of GST (Goods and Services Tax) compensation and financial assistance to fight coronavirus.
He called upon the opposition-ruled states to work together and fight for their rights, adding that his government will be setting up a committee soon to assess the impact of the new education policy on the state’s education system and finances.
The CM told the meeting that even on the issue of the mandatory final term exams for colleges and universities, despite repeated pleas and reminders, the University Grants Commission (UGC) had “failed” to take cognisance of his government’s concerns.
In the meeting, Singh also raised the issue of the Centre’s decision to suspend the post-matric scholarship scheme for Scheduled Caste students, whose number in the state is a whopping 3.17 lakh, adding “Given the acute fiscal crisis in the state, with no money even to pay salaries and fulfill other existing commitments, how do they expect us to pay for these scholarships too?”
On the financial crisis, the CM said the Centre’s ‘failure’ to release GST compensation after March 31, which is to the tune of nearly Rs 7,000 crore, had put Punjab in a difficult situation, amid rising coronavirus cases, adding “If the Government of India does not give us our GST compensation how do they expect us to function.”
He said, “Punjab had received Rs 102 crore in two installments from the health ministry for COVID and Rs 31 crore as the third installment was due,” adding that the state needs money to fight the pandemic, which was now moving from the cities to the villages too.
News Credit Zee News