Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Saturday asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to reconsider the Rs 20 lakh-crore stimulus package to counter the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic and emphasised the need to directly transfer money to the people’s accounts.
Speaking to reporters via video conference, Gandhi said the Centre should stop acting like a “money lender” by giving the poor credit instead of cash. “Today, our people need money,” Gandhi said. “The prime minister should reconsider this package. Modiji should think about direct cash transfer, 200 working days under MNREGA, money for farmers, because they are the future of India.”
The Congress leader also warned of an impending economic “storm” and said that there was an immediate need to generate demand.
Speaking about the nationwide lockdown, Gandhi said that it has to be lifted very carefully. “We will have to lift the lockdown and when we do that, we need to ensure that we do that intelligently,” Gandhi said. He added that the government must not “sacrifice the vulnerable people” in process.
The Centre’s stimulus package was announced by Modi in his address to the nation on Tuesday. Over the next three days, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman elaborated on the package, targeted at the vulnerable sections of the society, small businesses and agriculture. She is scheduled to hold another press conference on Saturday evening.
Weeks of lockdown have brought India’s economy to a standstill. The Centre is yet to announce its decision on whether it will further extend the lockdown, which is set to end on May 17.
The number of coronavirus cases in India rose 85,940 on Saturday morning and the toll reached 2,752. The country reported 3,970 cases and 103 deaths in 24 hours.