New Delhi: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi released a new video today targeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the central government for “destroying the unorganised sector” – which he had earlier called the backbone of the Indian economy – with the “sudden” nationwide lockdown to check the spread of the coronavirus. He emphasised that the government must introduce a “NYAY-like scheme” – the minimum wage social welfare scheme proposed by the Congress in its 2019 election manifesto.
“The poor, those in small and medium businesses, are daily wage earners. They eat with what they earn each day. When you (PM Modi) announced a lockdown without a notice, you attacked them. The Prime Minister said the fight will be for 21 days, the backbone of the unorganised sector broke in 21 days,” Mr Gandhi said.
Quoting government data, today’s video – last in a four-part series in which Mr Gandhi has held demonetisation, the Goods and Services Tax and the coronavirus lockdown for record contraction of the Indian economy – states that over 97 lakh migrant workers were “sent home”, and shared estimates of youth unemployment and closure of small and medium-sized businesses.
Money needs to be directly deposited in bank accounts (of the poor), Mr Gandhi said reiterating what his party colleague and former Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram has repeatedly said on ways to revive the Indian economy from its record fall of 23.9 per cent.
“We suggested that for small and medium businesses, you should prepare a package… Instead, the government waived off taxes worth lakhs of crores of the richest fifteen-twenty people,” said Mr Gandhi.
“The lockdown was not an attack on corona. The lockdown was an attack on the poor of India. The lockdown was an attack on labourers, farmers and small shopkeepers. It was an attack on our unorganised sector,” Mr Gandhi said.
The video was shared hours after Mr Gandhi shared India’s coronavirus numbers, now second highest in the world, and blamed it on the centre’s “mismanagement”
The Congress MP from Wayanad has led his party’s attack on the ruling BJP-led central government in the weeks since the lockdown, dismissing the Rs20 lakh crore economic stimulus package as a “joke”.
The BJP, however, has dismissed these attacks. Recently, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had called the massive shortall in the GST – linked to the cornavirus pandemic – as “an act of God”.