Coronavirus | Congress seeks cash transfers

Sonia Gandhi calls for social protection measures including direct cash help to the affected.

March 21, 2020 04:32 pm | Updated June 19, 2020 06:26 pm IST - New Delhi

Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi. File

Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi. File

The government needs to outline measures to help people whose livelihoods have been affected by the COVID-19 outbreak , the Opposition parties said on Saturday. 

Congress president Sonia Gandhi, in a statement, said COVID-19, which followed demonetisation and the slowing down of the economy, had been a huge setback to millions of daily wage earners, MGNREGA workers, ad hoc  and temporary workers, labourers, farmers and those in the unorganised sector. 

Also Read: Coronavirus | Narendra Modi calls for determination, patience and a ‘janata curfew’

“The government has to put in place broad-based social protection measures, including direct cash financial help to these sections,” she said. Calling for a comprehensive sector-wise relief package, she said: “The Congress is demanding necessary tax breaks, interest subvention and deferment of liabilities. For the salaried class, the government and the RBI must consider deferment of EMIs.”

As the entire nation stands united in our joint fight, I would urge the Prime Minister and the government to take action on some key issues. There is uncertainty and lack of information about the number of beds, isolation chambers, ventilators and dedicated medical teams. This information, including location of each hospital and their emergency phone line numbers, should be publicly shared.  Special budgetary allocation is an equally important factor, Ms. Gandhi said.

Also read: About 25 million jobs could be lost worldwide due to coronavirus: UN

Former party president Rahul Gandhi said the virus was a strong assault on our already fragile economy. “Small, medium businessmen and daily wage workers are the worst affected. Clapping won’t help them!” he tweeted.

NCP president Sharad Pawar too has demanded that the government push back deadlines to file both GST and income-tax returns from the last week of March.

The Opposition  had expressed disappointment with Mr. Modi’s address to the nation on Thursday as it did not lay out any financial interventions to tackle the economic fallout.

The CPI(M)  had demanded that the government give ₹5,000 to every Jan Dhan account holder and BPL beneficiary to tide over the crisis.

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