Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Saturday continued advocating for direct assistance to farmers and migrants who have been affected by the COVID-19 lockdown.
Rahul was speaking to members of the electronic regional media.
Referring to the economic package announced by the Narendra Modi government this week, Rahul declared the entire country was facing hardship. Rahul declared the economic package should not “revolve around loans but involve direct assistance to the farmers and migrants who are walking to their homes”. Rahul said his views were not “political in nature”. Rahul said he was appealing to Modi to “reconsider” the economic package and focus on directly transferring money to farmers.
Referring to the threat of ratings downgrade, Rahul appealed to Modi to focus on “the heart of India and not overseas [rating agencies]”.
“If we do not help farmers and businesses now, our economy will not start…,” Rahul warned.
Rahul lauded the media for publicising the plight of the migrant workers on roads and highways.
Last month, Rahul began a series of video interactions with experts on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and measures to counter it. Rahul held discussions with former RBI governor Raghuram Rajan and Nobel Prize-winning economist Abhijit Banerjee, both of whom called for increased economic assistance to the poor.
Since April, Rahul has also held press conferences to give his views on the coronavirus situation. In April, Rahul declared a continued “lockdown was no solution to the coronavirus” and instead called to boost testing to detect COVID-19. Last week, Rahul called for urgent financial assistance for the poor and argued for a need for an exit strategy for the lockdown.
Rahul had been outspoken in pointing out purported flaws in the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic by the Modi government. Since February, Rahul had alleged the Modi government had not taken coronavirus seriously.
On Friday, Rahul lashed out at the NITI Aayog, referring to experts there as “geniuses” who claimed the “government’s national lockdown strategy would ensure no fresh COVID-19 cases from May 16”.
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