Former Finance Minister P Chidambram on Wednesday said that the government should protect the salaries and wages of 12 crore workers amid ongoing coronavirus lockdown. The government should also announce a financial package for the stressed MSMEs and financial assistance for states to fight the pandemic, Chidambaram said. He added the government must prepare an exit strategy and look into the challenges faced by the migrants in different parts of the country.
"Time is of the essence. In the absence of a clear signal of assistance from the Government during these extremely difficult times, the private sector will be forced to resort to large scale retrenchments and layoffs which will devastate livelihoods of hundreds of millions of people. We urge the Prime Minister to step in urgently and announce an assistance package to protect the wages/salaries and pay cheques that are due in the next few days," senior Congress leader said at a press conference via video conferencing.
Chidambaram also proposed a wage protection assistance programme to support the MSMEs. "We urge the Prime Minister to look at that proposal and immediately announce the implementation of two specific recommendations: Rs 1 lakh crore Wage Protection assistance to help MSMEs pay wages and salaries for the month of April; Rs 1 lakh crore Credit Guarantee fund for MSMEs that will help them to go to the banks and borrow money," he said.
Chidambaram also proposed a 'paycheque protection program' for workers. "We urge the prime minister to step in urgently and announce an assistance package to protect the wages/salaries and pay cheques that are due in the next few days," he said.
Chidambaram further asked the government why it had taken the technical loan write-off route for fugitives such as Nirav Modi, Mehul Choksi and Vijay Mallya. He commented after Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that wilful defaulters were beneficiaries of 'phone banking' under the UPA regime and the Modi government is chasing them to recover the dues.