Expressing concern over the potential impact of the 21-day lockdown among the poor, Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi on Thursday urged Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to implement direct cash transfers of Rs 7,500 to the bank accounts of Jan Dhan, PM Kisan Yojana, MGNREGA beneficiaries, among others.
In a letter to the Prime Minister, Gandhi also suggested the distribution of 10 kg of rice or wheat per family member to every ration card holder through the Public Distribution System at free of cost.“The 21-day ‘nation-wide lockdown’ announced by you as a measure to fight the coronavirus is a welcome step. As President of the Indian National Congress, I would like to state that we will support and collaborate fully with every step taken by the Union Government to ensure the containment of the pandemic,” the letter read.
Seeking relief for the salaried class, the party interim chief also suggested deferment of payment of EMIs for a period of six months.
“All businesses, particularly the Micro, Small & Medium businesses, have been facing unprecedented distress from before the onset of the pandemic. The Union Government must consider announcing a comprehensive sector-wise relief package including necessary tax breaks, interest subvention and deferment of liabilities,” she added.
“With nearly 60% of India’s population being economically dependent on agriculture, it is imperative that the Union Government should take necessary steps to enable harvesting and procurement of crops at MSP,” she said.
With soaring coronavirus cases across the country, the Congress leader also emphasised the need to arm the medical professionals with ‘Personal Protection Equipment’ to prevent them from contracting the infection.
To spread awareness on the virus and health infrastructure, Gandhi said all information pertaining to the location of hospitals among other should be disseminated by the government through one platform.