‘Can’t have lockdown of people, lockout of economy’: Congress leader to India’s govt

Migrant workers and their family members lineup outsdie the Anand Vihar bus terminal to leave for their villages during a government-imposed nationwide lockdown as a preventive measure against the COVID-19 coronavirus in New Delhi on March 28, 2020. - Tens of thousands of migrant workers and their famiies on March 28 fought and shoved their way onto buses organised by India's most populous state to get them to their home towns amid the coronavirus pandemic. (Photo by Bhuvan BAGGA / AFP). Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

NEW DELHI, Apr 25, 2020, Hindustan Times. The Centre should have a rethink on its lockdown decision and come up with national plan for coronavirus under the disaster management act, said Congress leader Kapil Sibal on Saturday, Hindustan Times reported.

The nationwide lockdown is in force will May 3 to halt the spread of the highly contagious coronavirus disease.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to hold another meeting with chief ministers on Monday as the country enters into the last week of lockdown.

“You can’t have a lockdown of people and a lockout of the economy That’s not the way to formulate a policy. We are not criticising. We are only saying it is time to rethink. We are with the government. This is constructive criticism,” said Kapil Sibal.

The Congress leader asked why the states were not consulted before the lockdown was imposed.

“You never held discussions with the state government before announcing the lockdown, just like you did while announcing the decision on demonetisation,” Sibal added.

Sibal brought to attention the plight of the migrant workers stuck in various states. He said their situation reminded him of an old Hindi song “jaaye toh jaaye kahan (where to now)”.

“There should have been a national plan. The people are on streets. But they have not been provided with anything,” said Sibal.

The veteran leader, who also is a lawyer, questioned the government’s decision to freeze the dearness allowance till 2021.

“The dearness allowance must not be held back till 2021. It was for the common man. We must give it to the people. In this economic crisis they need this money very much,” said Sibal.

The Centre on Thursday held back a revision of the dearness allowance paid to all Union government employees for 18 months and proposed a similar move by state governments to collectively save about Rs 1.20 lakh crore to fund the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.

Dearness Allowance and Dearness Relief will be restored prospectively after June 30, 2021, but no arrears for the period from January 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021 shall be paid,the government order said.

Share it

Exclusive: Beyond the Covid-19 world's coverage