In a letter to PM Modi on the COVID-19 outbreak, Congress MP Rahul Gandhi has said that India needs to “dramatically increase the number of tests” that are being carried out and stressed that it's “important to inject money directly” towards migrant labourers who are suffering worst due to the restrictive measures that have been taken.
While expressing solidarity with Prime Minister Modi in this time of crisis, Gandhi also urged him to “seriously consider the potentially devastating impact a nationwide lockdown would have on our people, our society, and our economy.”
‘Number of Poor People Too Large to Shut Down Economic Activity’
In the letter, Gandhi emphasised India's unique conditions and has argued that India may need to take different steps than countries like Italy or China, lwho have imposed lockdowns on their populations. This, he argues, is because of the number of poor people in India who are dependent on daily income.
You can read Rahul Gandhi’s full letter to PM Modi below.
"“The number of poor people in India who are dependent on a daily income is simply too large for us to unilaterally shut down all economic activity. The consequences of an economic shutdown will disastrously amplify the death toll arising from the COVID-19 virus.” " - Rahul Gandhi in letter to PMWhy Labourers Are Worst-Affected
In the aftermath of the three-week nationwide lockdown in which all public transport has been suspended, migrant labourers from across the country have started the long walks home to their villages from cities that are often hundreds of kilometres away. Writing about the crisis, Gandhi has argued that the government “must immediately strengthen the social safety net and use every public resource we have to support and shelter the working poor."
Lauding the government's announcement of a financial package as a "good first step," Gandhi draw attention to the need for speedy delivery of the financial package as well. For relief to daily-wage labourers and migrant workers, Gandhi writes,
"“They are struggling to seek refuge as they march to reach far-away homes. It is important that we help them find shelter and inject money directly into their bank accounts to help them survive these arduous next few months.”" - Congress leader Rahul Gandhi‘Set up A Defensive Wall Around Economy’
Rahul Gandhi also wrote that it's "critical" to "set up a defensive wall around our key financial and strategic institutions to protect them from the shock wave that is bound to come as true impact of the virus and our economic shutdown huts us a few weeks from now on." He emphasised that India's informal economy and small and medium businesses will be vital to any rebuilding effort.
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