Congress President Sonia Gandhi who chaired the Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting on Thursday said that 12 crore jobs were lost in the first phase of the coronavirus lockdown. She also advocated Rs 7,500 each as emergency relief for needy families to tide over the coronavirus pandemic. "Twelve crore jobs have been lost in the first phase of the lockdown. Unemployment is likely to increase further as economic activity remains at a standstill. It is imperative to provide at least Rs 7,500 to each family to tide over this crisis," she said during the CWC meeting.
Sonia Gandhi said that the pandemic has increased "disturbingly", in terms of spread and speed. She said that in the wake of the pandemic, certain sections of society are facing acute hardships. Kisans, khet mazdoors, construction workers and the unorganised sector are facing unprecedented challenges. "Trade, commerce and industry have come to a virtual halt and crores of livelihoods have been destroyed," she said.
The Congress President said that the party has offered constructive cooperation and suggestions but the government has only implemented them "partially" and in a "miserly way". "Unfortunately, they have been acted upon only partially and in a miserly way. The compassion, large-heartedness and alacrity from the Central Government is conspicuous by its absence," she said.
Gandhi said that despite repeatedly telling the government that there is no testing, tracing and quarantine, the ratio of testing still remains low. She said that there aren't enough testing kits and the ones available are of poor quality. The same was for PPE kits, which are in short supply and of low quality.
"Migrant laborers are still stranded, jobless and desperate to return home. They have been hit the hardest. They must be provided with food security and a financial safety net in order to survive this period of crisis. Farmers are facing serious difficulties too. The issues of weak and unclear procurement policies and disrupted supply chains need to be addressed without delay... facilities must be made available to the farmers for the next round of Kharif crops," stated Sonia Gandhi.
The Congress President also batted for a relief package for MSMEs. She said that the MSME sector employs 11 crore workers and if the sector were to be rescued from ruin, then a package for their revival is imperative.
Sonia Gandhi also applauded the frontline workers and said that even in such bleak times there are success stories. "There are a few success stories and we should applaud them. Most of all we should salute every single Indian leading the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic in spite of the absence of adequate personal protection equipment. The doctors, nurses, paramedics, health workers, sanitation workers and essential service providers, NGO and the lakhs of citizens providing relief to the most needy all over India. Their dedication and determination truly inspire us all," she said.
INDIA CORONAVIRUS TRACKER: BusinessToday.In brings you a daily tracker as coronavirus cases continue to spread. Here is the state-wise data on total cases, fatalities and recoveries in one comprehensive graphic.