New Delhi: Days after the US Congress approved a stimulus package that would send billions of dollars to American households and businesses grappling with the economic and health toll caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, former Finance Minister and senior Congress leader P. Chidambaram said on Thursday that the Congress in India has also been demanding cash transfer from the government to give relief to the poor amid the pandemic.
Chidambaram tweeted: “US Congress passes a Bill to give $600 to the relatively poorer Americans. President Trump threatens to reject the Bill unless it is increased to $2000 or, for a couple, $4000. Here, in India, despite our pleas, the government is unwilling to make any cash transfer to the poorest one-third of the families.”
Chidambaram said that the UPA had lifted 270 million people out of poverty. The pandemic, the unplanned lockdowns and the government have pushed many millions below the poverty line again, he said.
The Congress and its leaders had also pressed for ‘NYAY’ to be implemented during the pandemic which guarantees minimum income and was a flagship promise of the Congress during the 2019 general elections. During the pandemic, interim Congress President Sonia Gandhi wrote a letter to the Prime Minister on the same issue.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi had alleged in the past that the government did not pay any heed to the advice of the party and when it was time to open after the lockdown, the Congress told the government several times that helping the poor was essential.
The Congress in its letters to the Prime Minister had suggested that for small and medium businesses, the government should prepare a package.