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Lockdown extended: ‘Inhumane treatment of poor shame and blot on democracy’, says Congress

Senior Congress leader Anand Sharma said Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s address to the nation was disappointing as he did not unveil a roadmap for revival of economic activity post lockdown.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi | Updated: April 14, 2020 8:54:37 pm
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As thousands of migrant workers stranded in Mumbai came out on streets leading to chaos and police lathi charge Tuesday, the Congress said the inhumane treatment of poor countrymen was “a shame and blot” on Indian democracy. The Congress is a coalition partner in the Shiv Sena-led government in Maharashtra.

“Heart-rending to see the plight of migrant labour and workers, starving children, hungry men and women, desperately waiting for food and relief. This inhumane treatment of our poor countrymen is a shame and blot on Indian democracy. Appealing to the Prime Minister and Chief Ministers and the administration, give them back their dignity and rights. Give them roti, not lathi. This repression is an unforgivable crime against humanity,” senior Congress leader Anand Sharma said.

Sharma said Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s address to the nation was disappointing as he did not unveil a roadmap for revival of economic activity post lockdown. “Migrant labour and workers have been suffering with the loss of daily wage and incomes. Urgent interventions for mitigation cannot be delayed,” he said.

Arguing that the second leg of the lockdown also comes with enormous human and economic cost, he said, “We expected the Prime Minister to unveil a strategy for staged lifting of the lockdown for essential sectors of industry, especially MSMEs, agro & food processing industries, unorganized sector and those manufacturing healthcare products. Also, a package for MSMEs was necessary.”

“As stores are running empty, production of essential goods needed to be ramped up and issues on the supply side, transportation and distribution need to be addressed. Besides, we also need to ensure that rabi crops are purchased at MSP and logistics managed effectively,” he said.

Sharma pointed out that the initial financial package of Rs 1.7 lakh crore announced by the government in March was less than 1 per cent of India’s GDP, and far too inadequate to make a meaningful difference. “A stimulus of at least 5-6 per cent of the GDP is essential for mitigation, saving jobs and prevention of an economic collapse,” he said.

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