New Delhi, May 25 : Congress on Monday criticised the Union government over its handling of COVID-19 crisis, saying it was clear from the measures announced last week that the government has either no sense of the crisis or plainly refused to address it. “It has been 62 days since the lockdown and every sector of the Indian economy faces a grave crisis. We needed a sector-wise plan and the government had 62 days of lockdown to plan for this.
Sectors like tourism,hospitality, airlines, transport, retail, restaurants, construction needed very specific measures, given they employ large numbers of people. But the government has no idea what is happening”, said senior Congress leader and AICC general secretary Mallikarjun Kharge. He claimed that the government has lost a big opportunity to provide relief to the crores of migrant workers, the poor on one end and the industries on the other end.
The relief package and the press conferences by the Finance Minister have not only exposed the apathy of the government towards the migrant workers but also its arrogance and hypocrisy, he alleged. “India’s GDP growth has been declining for the last six years, the crisis was brewing even before the Corona pandemic. Sudden shock of the lockdown has pushed the economy from a slowdown to a complete shutdown. The government needed to revive the economy by reviving supply, demand and credit cycle with its financial package. Instead, the economic package doesn’t just prove the government is insincere but has failed on all fronts”, Mr Kharge alleged.
He claimed that the Rs 20 lakh crore economic package has now been analysed by experts, and its total cost works out to less than 1 per cent of the GDP. “It has come as a rude shock for anyone who was expecting some respite”, he said . “The Prime Minister only intends to make grand headline news without taking his colleagues into confidence. That is perhaps why the Finance Ministry was unprepared and put together such a shoddy package,” he alleged.
The Congress leader said that the economic package had no immediate relief for the agriculture sector except talking about reforms. “Today, the agriculture sector is the only bright spot which is expected to grow at three per cent when the GDP for the 2nd quarter is expected to fall by as much as 45 per cent”, he said and added, “farmers have already lost fruit and vegetable produce due to lockdown, have sold crops at below minimum support price because they could not transport their harvest. A sincere government would spend money to procure harvest”.