Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala
Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala

Cong poses multiple questions to Centre over lockdown, seeks clarity in fight against COVID-19

ANI | Updated: May 02, 2020 21:32 IST

New Delhi [India], May 2 (ANI): The Congress party on Saturday posed a number of questions to Prime Minister Narendra Modi led government at the Centre regarding the extension of COVID-19 induced lockdown and sought clarity in the fight against coronavirus pandemic.
A statement from Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala reads: "Home Ministry issued an order late last evening imposing lockdown 3.0 up till May 17, 2020."
"Neither did the Prime Minister come forward nor did he address the nation. Neither did the Home Minister come forward. So much so that even a single officer of the Government of India chose not to make an appearance. The nation got only an official order of MHA," the statement quotes Surjewala as saying.
Surjewala said that the nation was neither informed nor illuminated. "The nation wasn't acquainted of the way ahead or enlightened about the time limit. Neither did a conversation take place on the humongous difficulties nor on multiple challenges."
"No one heard the 'Mann Ki Baat' of fellow Indians nor did we hear Modiji's 'Mann Ki Baat' and there was no one to answer lakhs of questions, doubts and apprehensions," Surjewala said.
"130 crore Indians seek answers on what is the aim of lockdown 3.0? What is the purpose, the objective and the strategy? The nation witnessed lockdown 1.0, then lockdown 2.0 and is now seeing lockdown 3.0. Will there be a lockdown 4.0 and lockdown 5.0 in the future? When will it end completely," asked the Congress spokesperson.
"What is the goalpost to deal with the coronavirus and economic pandemic by May 17, 2020? What are the achievable goals by May 17 as decided by the Modi government to deal with the infection, livelihood challenges and huge economic crisis? What concrete and positive steps will be initiated by May 17."
"What is the 'Exit Strategy' from lockdown 3.0? What is the thought and policy of Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the nation? What is the road map, not only for harvesting and grant of MSP to the farmers but also for the sowing of the next Kharif crops and availability of fertilisers, seeds, and pesticides? What are the arrangements for ensuring livelihood and ration for over 40 cr urban and village poor and labourers? What is the relief package for 4.25 crore MSMEs generating 11 crore employment?" the statement reads.
The Congress party asked: "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 and other such sectors? What is the timeline for the safe and time-bound return of nearly 8 to 10 crore migrant labours?"

The party also gave seven solutions regarding the situation.
"Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi have repeatedly spoken about the immediate announcement and implementation of 'Financial Action Plan Part-2' and have written a number of letters to Prime Minister giving concrete suggestions. The Modi government should ensure free travel in sanitized trains of lakhs of stranded migrant labourers within a period of 15 days. This should be treated as the first responsibility of the government."
The Congress wants that "India's poor-labourers-farmers be given Rs 7,500 through DBT in the Jan Dhan accounts, PM Kisan Yojana accounts, MGNREGA labourers accounts as also in the account of every senior citizen-widow-physically handicapped person. In addition, thereto, 10 kg foodgrains -- wheat or rice, one kg pulses and half kg sugar be given per person per family for sustenance."
The Congress party has said that farmer's entire crops be procured at MSP and payment made within 24 hours. The entire outstanding amount, be it of the sugarcane farmers or other farmers be cleared within seven days. All recoveries of the farmers should be deferred for one year and interest waived off.
A 'Rs 2,00,000 Crore Salary and Credit Package' should be given for 4.25 crore Micro, Small & Medium Industries (MSMEs).
'Job & Pay Protection Package' be ensured for the entire middle class and salaried class so that rampant termination of jobs and unprecedented cut on salaries can be checked.
The Congress party said that corona testing should be increased multiple times. "Personal protection equipment (PPE) kits be immediately provided to doctors, nurses and health workers, besides giving them a special financial package. Similar benefits be extended to police personnel, safai karamcharis and those engaged in essential services."
"The Government of India should put an immediate stop on the wasteful expenditure. Prime Minister Modi should put an embargo without delay on Rs 20,000 cr Central Vista Beautification Project, Rs 1,10,000 cr Bullet Train Project, purchase of special aircraft worth Rs 8,458 cr for the travel of the Prime Minister, besides cutting wasteful expenditure by 30 per cent. The money so saved should be utilised for giving Rs 1 lakh cr package to the States to fight corona and its after-effects as also sector-specific packages," the statement added.
"The fight against corona shall be fought unitedly and not in a unitary fashion," the party said in the statement. (ANI)