Congress Party press briefing by @ManishTewari, Spokesperson, AICC:
- We understand the inevitability of the lockdown and hence the Indian National Congress supports the extension of the lockdown. The Centre and all the states agree on this. However, there are a couple of things which we need to be pointed out.
- The PM told the nation what he expects out of the people but the PM did not address the concerns of the people or did not talk about what his government is doing for the people of India, something the people wanted to hear.
- What the PM has not spoken about and made for the most horrifying images when the lockdown was first implemented, is with regard to the plight of the migrant workers. They are in camps, spread out in various parts of the country.
- Those workers have completed their mandatory 14-day quarantine, so therefore, what are you going to do about them? Are you going to allow them to go back to their homes? Is there a calibrated plan to facilitate their travel?
- Essentially, if someone has gone through the mandatory quarantine period and is not showing any symptoms, does it not become the Govt’s responsibility to facilitate their return. That’s what we wanted to hear, what is the Govt doing about it.
- Second thing that we wanted to hear from the PM is with regard to tests. So far there is no vaccine and so far the only medical treatment available is preemption and prevention and for that what we require is mass testing.
- What we have not heard from the PM is what is this Govt’s strategy regarding testing. Will it be limited to hotspots or will there be community level screening as it has happened in Bhilwara. What is the strategy of this Govt.
- The third thing that we have not heard is our frontline workers who are battling Covid-19, health workers, municipal workers, what is the status with regard to procurement of PPE, if they are in the frontline, they deserve to be protected.
- What is Govt’s roadmap for harvesting? Are you going to allow people to go in the fields, carry out the harvest? How will the harvest then be collected & taken to procurement centres. How will procurement be facilitated, will Govt pay a bonus over the MSP?
- What about the marginalised, the poor, the most vulnerable sections of the society? MNREGA jobs are at 1% of what they were in Feb-March 2020. There are only 1.9 lakh families who have been able to get work under MNREGA. What is the Govt’s strategy to deal with it?
- How are supply chains going to be restored? We have not heard from the PM what is the Govt. strategy to keep the supply chain up and running. What about action against employers who are sacking their employees?
- What about extension of rations until 30 September 2020 to those who have cards under the National Food Security Act. What about rations to those who are internal migrants, who do not have ration cards?
- These are extremely valid concerns beyond the larger question of the revival of economy that the PM needed to address, that these are the 15 things we have done to protect the country. What the country is not hearing form the PM is what is the Govt. doing for them.