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Coronavirus: Welcome govt's approach to lockdown but need to give cash to poor, says Chidambaram

Coronavirus update: Chidambaram said that personal or sectoral interests should not be the guiding principle to answer the question. He said that the answer must be determined by rate of increase

twitter-logoBusinessToday.In | April 8, 2020 | Updated 13:23 IST
Coronavirus: Welcome govt’s approach to lockdown but need to give cash to poor, says Chidambaram
Coronavirus news: Chidambaram speaks on extension

Former Finance Minister P Chidambaram has said that he welcomes the government's move to consult state governments on the extension of the 21-day nationwide lockdown. He, however, also said that the government should immediately put cash in the hands of the poor -- a lockdown strategy that is "sorely missing" from the government's planning. He said that there are several sections of the poor who have not received any cash from the government.

In a series of tweets the Congress leader said that as "among the first to advocate a lockdown" he welcomed the Centre's strategy to consult state governments on whether the lockdown should be extended beyond April 14. He said that personal or sectoral interests should not be the guiding principle to answer the question. "The answer must be determined solely by two numbers -- the absolute increase in positive cases every day and the rate of increase," he said.

"As of today, both numbers point to adopting a cautious and conservative approach. What is sorely missing in the lockdown strategy is putting cash in the hands of poor people. There are several sections of the poor who have not received a single rupee from the government," he added.

Quoting the recent CMIE report that states that overall unemployment might have surged to 23 per cent, P Chidambaram said, "With unemployment at 23 per cent (CMIE) and a freeze on daily wages, incomes, the government must immediately find the resources and remonetise (give cash to) the poor. The miserly and cruelly negligent approach of the government has compounded the hardships of the poor."

Chidambaram's tweets come as India is nearing the end of its 21-day lockdown. However, states have reportedly urged the Centre to consider extending the lockdown. A Cambridge research last month also emphasised that a 21-day lockdown has great chances of resurgence. Based on their mathematical calculations, the researchers advocated one 49-day lockdown.

Currently there are 4,643 active cases in the country, with the death toll at 149. According to the Health Ministry, 401 people have been cured or discharged.

Also read: Coronavirus Live Updates: PM Modi holds virtual meet with opposition leaders; country's active cases at 4,643

Also read: Coronavirus: India needs 49-day lockdown, not 21, say Cambridge researchers

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.

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