Rahul Gandhi warns Modi against disastrous consequences of shutdown

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The former Congress president has warned that the consequences of complete economci shutdown will be diastrous for millions of migrant workers, who are dependent on daily income for their living.

Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi has cautioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi against the disastrous consequences of the complete economic shutdown declared by the government to tackle the coronavirus pandemic.

"The number of poor people in India who are dependent on a daily income is simply too large for us to unilaterally shut down all economic activity. The consequences of a complete economic shut down will disastrously amplify the death toll arising from the Covid-19 virus," Rahul said in a letter to the Prime Minister while referring to the exodus of migrant workers from different states.

Reiterating his party's support to the government on the measures it was taking to tackle the pandemic, the Congress leader said that it was critical for India to understand that the country’s s conditions are unique. “We will be required to take different steps than other large countries, who are following a total lockdown strategy," he said.

Rahul Gandhi said a complete lockdown and the resulting shutdown of the economic engine will almost certainly ensure that millions of unemployed youth rush back to their villages, increasing the risk of infecting their parents and the elderly population living there.

"This will result in a catastrophic loss of life. We must immediately strengthen the social safety net and use every public resource we have to support and shelter the working poor. Large population centres will require big dedicated hospitals with thousands of beds and ventilators," he said.

Rahul Gandhi's letter comes in the wake of massive exodus of migrant workers from Delhi, Mumbai, Gujarat, Kerala and other states. He said that the government didn’t have a contingency plan for the migrants who were left without jobs or money and had to leave cities after the announcement of the 21-day nationwide lockdown.

"The sudden lockdown has created immense panic and confusion. Factories, small industries and construction sites have closed, tens of thousands of migrant labourers are trying to walk home to their villages and are stranded at various state borders," the former Congress chief reiterated this in his letter to the Prime Minister.

"They are rendered totally vulnerable without their daily wages or access to nutrition and basic services. They are struggling to reach faraway homes and seek refuge. It is important that we help them find shelter and provide them with money directly into their bank accounts to help them tide over the next few months," he said (With inputs from agencies)

Image Credit: Statesman

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