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Centre's economic package turned to 'cruel joke on country': Sonia Gandhi at opposition meet

Centre's economic package turned to 'cruel joke on country': Sonia Gandhi at opposition meet

India Blooms News Service | @indiablooms | 22 May 2020, 09:05 pm

New Delhi/IBNS: Making an opening remark at the oppositions' all-party meeting to discuss the Coronavirus pandemic, Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi said the government has abandoned any pretence of being democratic and its economic package has turned to be a 'cruel joke on the country.'

"There is not even a pretence of consultation with stakeholders or debate in Parliament. We deplore these unilateral moves," Gandhi said slamming the response of the Centre in tackling the nationwide COVID-19 crisis.

She said, "All power is now concentrated in one office, the PMO. The spirit of Federalism which is an integral part of our Constitution is all but forgotten."

Gandhi said the government is far from offering succour or support and has embarked on a "wild adventure of so-called reforms including a grand clearance sale of public sector units (PSUs) and repeal of labour law."

She said many parties have demanded that direct cash be transferred to the poors and free grains be distributed to the ones affected.

Noting that the economy was "gravely crippled", the Congress chief said every economist of repute had advised an immediate need for a massive fiscal stimulus.

"The Prime Minister's announcement on May 12 of a grand Rs 20 lakh crore package - and the Finance Minister spelling out its details over the next five days- have turned out to be a cruel joke on the country," she said.

The meeting via video call was attended by Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda among others.

The absentees included Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)'s Arvind Kejriwal.

Speaking at the meeting, Gandhi lashed out at the government saying: "That the present government has no solutions is worrying; but that it has no empathy or compassion for the poor and vulnerable is heartbreaking."

"The initial optimism of the Prime Minister that the war against the virus would conclude in 21 days has turned out to be misplaced.  It seems that the virus is here to stay until a vaccine is found.  I am also of the view that the government was uncertain about the criteria for lockdowns, nor does it have an exit strategy," the Congress chief said.

She also raised the issue of the migrants who resorted to walking to their hometowns without food and water.

Gandhi said besides the migrants, the ignored population include the 13 crore families in the bottom half of the population -- tenant farmers and landless agricultural workers; the laid off or retrenched workers; the shopkeepers and the self-employed; MSMEs; and organized industries.

Centre's economic package turned to 'cruel joke on country': Sonia Gandhi at opposition meet

India Blooms News Service
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