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Rahul Gandhi urges PM Modi to take India' unique condition into account, as govt may have to extend lockdown further


ANI General News
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Sunday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi urging him to take India's conditions into account, which thereby mandates taking "different steps than other large countries who are following a total lockdown strategy."
The Wayanad MP further stated that this needs to be taken into account now as he suspected that the government could have to extend the lockdown period even further.
"The world has been forced to take urgent, immediate measures to contain the rapid spread of the Covid-19 virus and India is currently in the midst of a three-week lockdown. I suspect that the government will eventually extend this even further. It is critical for us to understand that India's conditions are unique. We will be required to take different steps than other large countries who are following a total lockdown strategy," Gandhi's letter read.
"The number of poor people in India who are dependent on a daily income is simply too large for us to unilaterally shut down all economic activity. The consequences of a complete economic shut down will disastrously amplify the death toll arising from the Covid-19," it added.
Gandhi urged the government to "consider a nuanced approach that takes the complex realities of our people into consideration. Our priority must be to protect and isolate the elderly and vulnerable from the virus and to clearly and strongly communicate to the young the dangers of proximity to older people."
The Congress leader also warned that a vast number of India's elderly live in villages and the complete lockdown, which has resulted in youth rushing back to the villages will increase the risk of them "infecting their parents and the elderly population living there", resulting in a catastrophic loss of life.
Through the letter, he urged the government to set up big dedicated hospitals and manufacturing the required equipments for treatment as fast as possible. He also urged to increase the number of tests to get a more accurate picture of the spread of the infection.
Gandhi said that the Centre should provide help to the migrant workers and labourers struggling to return to their native places from big cities after the lockdown was imposed in the country by providing them assistance and direct financial help.
"It is also absolutely critical that we set up a defensive wall around our key financial and strategic institutions to protect them from the shock wave that is bound to come as the true impact of the virus and our economic shutdown hits us a few weeks from now. Our informal economy and immense network of small and medium businesses and farmers are going to be vital to any rebuilding effort. It is crucial that we engage them in a conversation, build their confidence and protect their interests with correct and timely action," the letter added.
The Congress leader extended his support to the Centre by stating, "We stand together with the government in fighting and overcoming this tremendous challenge."
This comes as the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country, rose to 979 on Sunday, according to the Union Health Ministry.
During his address to the nation on March 24, the Prime Minister had announced a 21-day nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of the deadly virus.

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First Published: Mar 29 2020 | 3:15 PM IST

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