New Delhi [India], Mar 25 (ANI): The Congress said on Wednesday that it stood with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his appeal for 21-day lockdown but was "deeply disappointed by the lack of coherent strategy" and demanded that Rs 7,500 should be transferred to every Jan Dhan, PM Kisan and pension account to tide over the nutrition needs for 21-days.
It also demanded that the Public Distribution System (PDS) ration should be given free.
In a series of tweets, Congress Communications in-charge Randeep Singh Surejwala said that the need of the hour was to implement 'Minimum Income Guarantee Scheme' (Nyay) mooted by the Congress and party leader Rahul Gandhi.
"Please transfer Rs 7,500 to every Jan Dhan, PM Kisan, and every pension account to tide over nutrition needs of 21 days and give free PDS ration. We will rise together as a nation and defeat COVID-19. We stand with lockdown but are deeply disappointed by the lack of coherent strategy or a clear 'way ahead' on your part," he said.
Surjewala asked what steps the government took despite an early warning about COVID-19 and sought details about isolation beds and ventilators available to people.
"Dear PM, India will adhere to the lockdown but what steps did the govt take to tackle the corona pandemic despite early warnings in Feb? When will doctors, nurses and health workers have adequate protection? How many 'isolation beds' and ventilators are available and where?" he said.
He asked how daily wagers and labourers will sustain during the 21-day lockdown.
"What's your plan to address the huge issue of bread and butter and livelihood for millions? How will daily wagers, labourers, MGNREGA workers, factory workers, unorganised workers, fishermen, farmers and farm labour sustain for 21 days?" he asked.
Surjewala said the crying need is to arm doctors, nurses and health workers with personal protection equipment and asked: "why are N-95 masks, Hazmat suits not available?"
"In March itself, India needs 7.25 lakh bodysuits, 60 lakh N-95 masks, 1 crore 3 ply masks? When will they be available?" he asked.
Surjewala said that the government banned the export of ventilators, respiratory devices and sanitisers only yesterday on March 24, "84 days after the spread of COVID-19."
"Is this your government's 'Modus operandi' to fight coronavirus? Too little, Too late!," he said.
Noting that two-thirds of the country's population is engaged in agriculture, he said that Prime Minister Modi did not refer to farmers during his address to the nation and demanded a moratorium on farmers' loans.
"Crop is ready for harvest in March itself. How will it be harvested and sold and who will buy at fair price? Indebtedness relief to farmers is the only way forward in these testing times. Please put a moratorium on farmers' loans and recoveries. Please ensure the procurement of crops at MSP. Let's not forget that farmers are the backbone of India's economy," he said.
Surjewala said the Prime Minister gave only four hours to prepare for 21-day lockdown.
"Did you think of over 5 lakh truck drivers, who are now stranded on roads? Did you think of millions of workers, who are stranded in cities away from home without food or money? What should they do," he asked. (ANI)