NEW DELHI: Former Union Minister P. Chidambaram, who was one of the first leaders to advocate for the lockdown, on Wednesday suggested that before any decision on lifting of the lockdown is taken, states should be consulted. He also demanded that the government give cash to the poor.
“As among the first to advocate a lockdown, I welcome the Central government consulting the states on whether the lockdown should be lifted after April 14,” said Chidambaram in a tweet.
Coronavirus lockdown: Latest updates
He said the answer to that question cannot be based on personal or sectoral interests. The answer must be determined solely by two numbers — the absolute increase in positive cases every day and the rate of increase.
“As of today, both numbers point to adopting a cautious and conservative approach,” Chidambaram said.
The former Union minister slammed the Centre for not making any strategy on the lockdown.
More on Covid-19
“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.
“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,” tweeted Chidambaram.
Earlier, Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao made a strong case for the continuation of the ongoing lockdown, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has also called for its phased withdrawal.
Gehlot said on Tuesday, “After the video conference with PM, I have constituted two task forces as life is important. Another task force to see the lockdown issue which should be exited in a phased manner.”
The Centre on Tuesday held a meeting of a group of ministers at Defence Minister Rajnath Singh’s residence, which has yet to take any decision on ending the lockdown.
India is under a 21-day nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of the deadly coronavirus, which is to end on April 14.