Former finance minister P Chidambaram has slammed the Modi government for failing to provide enough cash and food for the poor. Calling the current dispensation a "heartless government", Chidambaram said more people had run out of cash now and that the government should protect their dignity by "transferring cash" to the needy.
The ex-FM raised questions over the government's inability to distribute some portion of "77 million tonnes" grain stored in the Food Corporation of India facilities. "Why cannot government save them from hunger AND protect their dignity by transferring cash to every poor family? Why can't government distribute, free of cost, a small part of the 77 million tonnes of grain with FCI to families who need the grain to feed themselves?" he asked.
Why cannot government save them from hunger AND protect their dignity by transferring cash to every poor family?— P. Chidambaram (@PChidambaram_IN) April 19, 2020
Why can’t government distribute, free of cost, a small part of the 77 million tonnes of grain with FCI to families who need the grain to feed themselves?
He also said both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had to failed address these issues as the "nation watches helplessly". As India remains under lockdown, Opposition has sharpened its attack on the government over issues such as shutting down of the economy, rising COVID-19 cases, inadequate testing, among others.
Last week, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi pitched a slew of suggestions on how the government should combat the coronavirus outbreak in the country. The Congress leader proposed scaling up of coronavirus testing and asked the centre to find out where the country stands in fighting the global outbreak. He said, "India's testing rate very low at 199 per million so far and the country needs to ramp up testing".
He said the entire country had to fight the crisis "unitedly" and the states needed to have adequate resources to deal with the crisis in a nuanced manner. He also suggested the implementation of the NYAY scheme -- a social welfare programme introduced by the party during the 2019 general elections.
Meanwhile, the coronavirus death toll has reached 507 in India, while total confirmed cases have touched 15,712. The latest Ministry of Health data suggests Maharashtra tops the tally with 3,651 cases and 211 deaths, followed by Delhi at 1,893 cases and 42 deaths.