Coronavirus package | Put money in the hands of people, says Rahul Gandhi

Rahul Gandhi  

The Union government should not act as a sahukar (money lender) giving loans to people; instead it should help them with direct cash transfer, former Congress president Rahul Gandhi said on Saturday. He appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to rethink on the economic stimulus package.

Interacting with journalists of regional media via videoconferencing, he said that as an Opposition leader, he was trying to put pressure on the government to directly transfer money into people’s hands, and warned that an ‘economic storm’ was on its way.

Also read: More than 6.3 crore MSMEs on verge of economic ruin, Sonia Gandhi tells Narendra Modi

Mr. Gandhi reiterated that exiting the lockdown was not an event or an on-off switch. The government must get out of it ‘intelligently’ so that the economy as well as the vulnerable sections were protected.

“I don’t want to make a political statement but I have a serious reservation about the nature of the package that the government has given and I would like it to reconsider," he said.

“I would like to appeal to the Government of India that you can surely offer loans but Mother India cannot act like a sahukar to her children. Mother India should directly transfer money into the hands of her children. The migrant labourer walking on the street needs money, not debt. The farmer who is suffering needs money, not debt...If we do not, this will become a catastrophic problem,” he observed.

COVID-19 | Interactive map of confirmed coronavirus cases in India | COVID-19 | State-wise tracker for coronavirus cases, deaths and testing rates

Pitches for NYAY

Mr. Gandhi, who had conceived the nyuntam aay yojana [NYAY] or minimum income guarantee before the 2019 Lok Sabha election, once again pitched for it for helping the poor. “Do NYAY temporarily if you don’t want to do it permanently. But please start putting money into the small businesses, farmers, migrants’ bank accounts because if we do not, then we will have a catastrophic result.” It would cost the government ₹65,000-70,000 crore.

He said that though they had suggested doubling of work days to 200 under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), it won’t help the migrant workers in urban areas. So, he argued, the Congress had suggested a monthly cash transfer of Rs 7,500 for these workers. He believed that the government would pay heed to some of their suggestions.


Mr. Gandhi offered condolences to the families of those migrants killed in accidents on their trek back home and sympathies to those who had undergo numerous trouble.

“This is a challenging problem and I don’t want to resort to finger pointing. I want to say we have to all help the people who are walking on the streets. The situation is that the BJP is in government and they have the tools. So, they have a bigger responsibility. Its is also our duty as we are in the Opposition. All of us jointly have to help them,” he noted.

He added that there could be discrepancies between State governments on the migrants’ issue.

Patel’s attack

Senior Congress Ahmed Patel in a tweet attacked the Centre on the migrants issue. “Migrant crisis is now as big as corona pandemic itself. Govt cannot be a bystander as poor either go hungry or lose their lives in accidents. Speeches are not a solution. ₹1000 cr of PM care funds must reach their hands. If need be govt must use Army to help migrants reach safely,” he tweeted.

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Printable version | Oct 23, 2021 2:42:48 PM |

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