New Delhi: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi in a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi here on Sunday expressed his party’s solidarity with the government in the time of crisis and also suggested measures to overcome the panic and insulate the economy.
“The number of poor, who are daily wagers, is simply too large to shut down all economic activities. The consequences of economic shutdown will only add the Covid-19 toll,” said the former Congress chief. The shutdown could cause “catastrophic” loss of life, he added.
He urged the government to consider a nuanced approach, taking the complex realities of the country into consideration, prioritise the protection of the elderly and the vulnerable, and communicate clearly to the young about the dangers.
The rushing of millions of people to their villages due to lockdown in cities would increase the risk of spread of coronavirus infection to their folk back home, he said. “This will lead to catastrophic loss of life,” Gandhi said.
“We must strengthen the social safety net and use every public resource to support and shelter the working poor,” he said.
The Congress leader also called for setting up of dedicated hospitals with thousands of beds and ventilators, and intensifying coronavirus tests to get an accurate picture of the spread of infection and to formulate suitable measures to contain it.
Rahul said the sudden lockdown, announced by the government, created panic and confusion, and closure of factories, small industries and construction had rendered tens of thousands of migrants jobless forcing them to return to their villages.
He urged the Prime Minister to help them find shelter and provide money directly into their bank accounts to let them tide over the crisis.
Expressing his and millions of Congress workers’ solidarity with the government in this immense humanitarian crisis, Gandhi suspected that the government might extend the lockdown.