NEW DELHI: Congress on Thursday welcomed the government’s announcement of a financial assistance package to deal with job losses and hardships in the wake of coronavirus-forced lockdown as it called it the first right step in tackling the crisis.
After days of criticising the Modi government for what he called lapses and callousness while demanding economic steps like cash transfers for the poor, Rahul Gandhi said, “The government’s announcement of a financial assistance package is the first step in the right direction. India owes a debt to its farmers, daily wage- earners, labourers, women and the elderly who are bearing the brunt of the ongoing lockdown.”
Earlier in the day, Congress president Sonia Gandhi wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi demanding that the Centre provide fixed cash transfers to workers in the unorganised sector and a special risk allowance to health workers engaged in the fight against coronavirus.
In her second missive to Modi, Sonia demanded that NYAY or basic income scheme that was promised by Congress in its election manifesto should be implemented, calling it the “need of the hour”. She said a onetime cash transfer of Rs 7500 should be made to every Jan Dhan account holder, PM Kisan Yojana account holder, all old-age/widow pensioners and MNREGA workers’ accounts.
Sonia suggested that the Centre defer all EMIs for six months and waive interests charged by banks for this period. She said that all recoveries from farmers should be halted for six months.