Coronavirus lockdown | Spell out goalpost in dealing with pandemic, Congress tells PM

Surjewala urged the Prime Minister and the Centre to ferry the migrant labourers to their home in sanitised trains for free, along with food.

Updated - June 19, 2020 06:26 pm IST

Published - May 02, 2020 04:25 pm IST - New Delhi

Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala addresses a press conference. File

Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala addresses a press conference. File

Prime Minister Narendra Modi must address the country on what his government aims to achieve with a further two-week extension of the lockdown and ‘enligthen’ citizens on the road map to economic recovery, the Congress said on Saturday.

Addressing an online press conference, Congress communications chief Randeep Surjewala said the Prime Minister must lay out the exit strategy and spell out the goalpost in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic and economy .

Also read: Coronavirus | Lockdown extended till May 17; curbs stay on public transport

“What is the aim of lockdown 3.0? What is the purpose, objective and the strategy? Will there be lockdown 4.0 and lockdown 5.0 in the future? Will we see another lockdown? When will the lockdown finally end? The Prime Minister must come forward and address 130 crore Indians and enlighten them on the way ahead,” Mr. Surjewala said.

The Congress asked the government to specify what it is doing to ensure minimum support price to farmers; the availability of fertilizers, seeds and pesticides for the next kharif crops; livelihood and ration for the over 40 crore urban and rural poor; and relief for 4.25-crore micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and the 11 crore people employed in it.

“How do you propose to ensure ‘jobs and pay protection’ for the middle class and salaried people? What is the strategy for revival and restarting the tourism and hotel industry, textile industry, construction industry, automobile and IT industry, transport and aviation Industry?” said Mr. Surjewala.

Senior party leader and former Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram said in a tweet: “It was intriguing that the Prime Minister stayed away from the announcement on national TV and left it to a notification issued by the Home Secretary.”

“We think the government is obliged to spell out the objectives and the course of action after May 17”, he said.

Suggestions to govt

The Congress once again reiterated the suggestions made by its leaders like offering 10 kg of food grains to every person, transferring ₹7,500 into every Jan Dhan account and other beneficiaries such as pensioners under the category of widow and physically handicapped persons, a revival package for the MSMEs, among others.

Accusing the government of not handling the issue of migrant labourers in a humane or compassionate manner, Mr. Surjewala urged the Centre to ferry migrant labourers free of cost in sanitised trains and provide them food.

“Post Partition in 1947, for the first time in the history of the country, we witnessed pregnant women, old people, children walking barefoot without any food or water or medical help...We urge upon the Government of India to not shirk its responsibility,” he said.

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