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COVID-19 : The Congress Course of Action

Congress Crowd Funding

The Novel Corona virus is slowly tightening its grip across the Indian states, where almost 600 people have been tested positive till now, and the Central Government has urged all states to enforce strict lockdown to control the virus outbreak. India has already crossed into 3rd stage and is now on the verge of community outbreak. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has been asking Modi Government to act for more than one month now, while BJP is alleging him of playing political games during this hour of crisis.

Blame Game Or Need for Speed

We try to find out if Congress is just playing a political game or they are really doing their part in this critical situation. As we see that Rahul was the first politician to have tweeted and warned the government against the novel corona virus, well before the first positive case came into India. He has been doing regular tweets and also raised this concern right outside the Parliament in a press briefing. Recently, Congress President Sonia Gandhi also issued a letter to all the state CMs of the Congress party, to handle the situation on war-front. She also issued an advisory to help all the registered laborers in state welfare boards, and help the poor who have no shelter and food.

Another letter was written to the Prime Minister Modi, where Sonia Gandhi asked for the 4.4 crore laborers of the country, to be helped by the Central Government, by means of wage subsidy and other emergency welfare measures, to be rolled out across the country. Around Rs 30,000 crores of Cess collected under these Welfare Boards is lying unspent, which can be used at this time of national crisis.

Congress States Actions

It is evident that Congress-ruled Rajasthan was the first state to decide for a complete lockdown of state, starting on 22nd March, right after the Janta Curfew was violated badly in the evening despite of warnings by administration. Punjab jumped in right after that and declared complete curfew across the state. Very soon, Pondicherry also followed the suit.

Rajasthan has already started identification of underprivileged families and ordered the officials to send free ration supplies to the same. They have set a target of delivering free wheat to almost 1 crore families till the month of May. Social Security Pensions will be issued by first week of April. In the urban areas, needy families, daily wagers and street vendors have been tracked and food packets delivered to them.

Chhattisgarh, was another state which announced lockdown on 23rd March, where strict vigil was kept for suspected cases and asking them to home quarantine. All the ration card holders of poor category have been  asked to be given April and May rations with immediate effect. The Naxal-affected areas are also being monitored and basic supplies distributed among the people, along with free medical camps.

Puducherry, which thrives on almost three-fourth foreign tourists, an intense screening was started at its airport right at the beginning of March. A testing lab was also set-up which could speed up testing of suspected cases. The complete health infrastructure of the Union Territory, was managed under an umbrella of Common Action Plan, which aimed at stopping the outbreak of virus.

Punjab is another state where there is high footfall of NRIs who returned back after fear of pandemic. Almost one lakh people who came back to Punjab, were screened and around 30,000 have been kept in isolation. The state had already started thorough screening at the airports and state entry points, with now total curfew imposed, as the cases showed an increase last week. The door-to-door delivery of essential commodities, groceries, milk, fruits and vegetables, through pre-identified hawkers has been ordered, wherever it’s possible. Heavy police has been deployed to take care of law & order situation.

These states have been in no way, lagged behind the rest of the parts, but most of these have actually shown how to deal with the emergency situation. However, they are still looking at the Centre to release relief package, so that more services and medical facilities can be provided to the poor and needy. It’s time now for the Modi Government to take lead and work in close coordination with these states as well.

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    Saurabh Lohani
    March 25, 2020

    Big Question : In a country like India is it possible to have complete lockdown of 21 days!? Do we have enough police force to enforce this lockdown!? Are we Indians disciplined to implement lockdown on our own!? Has govt made plans how 40-50 Cr poors will get essential requirements such as meal/medicines during lockdown!? How will farmes harvest their crop starting early Aprit !?

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