Coronavirus | Chidambaram asks CMs to explain lockdown on TV

Senior Congress leader P. Chidambaram at the Parliament House during the ongoing budget session in New Delhi on Wednesday.

Senior Congress leader P. Chidambaram at the Parliament House during the ongoing budget session in New Delhi on Wednesday.   | Photo Credit: Shiv Kumar Pushpakar

The former Finance Minister, in a series of tweets, said there will be ‘massive economic pain, it could be better handled than numerous loss of lives’

Former Union Finance Minister P. Chidamabaram on Monday thanked the Chief Ministers of the States that had announced a lockdown and asked them to go on TV explaining why it is necessary to take such a step.

In a series of tweets, Mr. Chidambaram admitted that there would be “massive economic pain” but it could be handled than “numerous deaths” if the Coronavirus outbreak spreads.

He also offered suggestions to Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on how the government could go about enforcing the lockdown.

“Grateful that more States are announcing lockdowns. Compliments to the CMs. It is not enough to declare a lockdown. It must be strictly enforced in all large villages, towns and cities with few exceptions for emergency and essential services.’’

“Lockdown is not a holiday. It is to enforce social distancing and self-isolation. CMs must go on TV and explain why strict observance of lockdown is an imperative,” he said.

Though he had been pleading for a lockdown throughout the country for two-four weeks, they were “met with silence and, in some cases, by derisive trolls”, he stated.

Quoting Dr. Devi Shetty’s advice to a newspaper, he said, “Declare lockdown now. Doing it after one month will have serious and unmanageable consequences. There will be massive economic pain. But it is possible to handle the economic consequences than the loss of numerous lives.”

Mr. Chidamabaram, who had offered suggestions to the government in an interview to The Hindu, offered some key suggestions like doubling the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Samman Nidhi, bringing tenant farmers within the scheme and deferring tax payment dates.

He also suggested cutting indirect taxes, especially some GST rates, monthly cash transfers to the poor families, giving 10 kg of rice/wheat absolutely free to every family that wishes to take the food grains and “guarantees and fiscal incentives to employers who will maintain current levels of employment and wages”.

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Printable version | Jun 6, 2020 11:12:38 AM |

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