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Cooperation between Centre and States key in COVID-19 fight: Manmohan Singh

"Success of lockdown is to be judged finally on our ability to tackle COVID-19. Cooperation between the Centre and States is key to success and the fight would very much depend upon the availability of resources," Manmohan Singh said

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: April 23, 2020 2:54:38 pm
Manmohan Singh, Manmohan Singh on India lockdown, Manmohan Singh on coronavirus lockdown, Manmohan Singh on COVID-19, Sonia Gandhi Veteran Congress leader Manmohan Singh.

Former prime minister Manmohan Singh Thursday said co-operation between the Centre and States is essential in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

Addressing a meeting of the Congress Working Committee, which met for the second time after the lockdown came into force on March 25, the Congress said, “Success of lockdown is to be judged finally on our ability to tackle COVID-19. Cooperation between the Centre and States is key to success and the fight would very much depend upon the availability of resources.”

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During the meeting, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi also said the shutdown of the present nature after May 3 would be even more devastating. She also said that Congress’ suggestions to deal with the pandemic were taken “partially, miserly” by the government. “The compassion, large-heartedness and alacrity that should be forthcoming from the central government is conspicuous by its absence,” she said.

“Our focus must continue to be on successfully engaging with health, food security and livelihood issues. We have repeatedly urged the Prime Minister that there is no alternative to testing, trace and quarantine programme. Unfortunately, testing still remains low and testing kits are still in short supply and of poor quality. PPE kits are being provided to our doctors & healthcare workers but the number and quality is poor,” she added.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said issues of migrant workers must be addressed as the first priority and lockdown beyond May 3 should only be continued in COVID-19 hotspots and not in green zones. “Issue of migrant workers needs to be addressed as a first priority. Lockdown is a mere pause button,” he said.

“As a nation we need to think of a transition from a lockdown to lockdown only in disease hot zones and commencement of activities in the green zones,” he added.

During the meeting, chief ministers of various Congress-ruled states also alleged non-cooperation by the Centre in the fight against the virus.

Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot said unless the central government comes forward to financially help states, the fight against COVID-19 will get weakened. “Unless there is a big financial package for states, how will normalcy return to states post lockdown,” he asked. Chhattisgarh chief minister Bhupesh Baghel asked the Centre rises to the occasion, while Puducherry chief minister V Narayanasamy claimed his State did not get any assistance so far. “How will states survive in times of crisis. We are not enemies but have to act and work together,” Narayanasamy said at the CWC meet.

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