The CPI(M) said on Thursday the Rs 1.75-lakh-crore economic package announced by the Centre in the wake of the novel coronavirus pandemic was inadequate.
The comments come after the government unveiled the relief package involving free food grain and cooking gas to the poor for the next three months, one-time doles to women and poor senior citizens, higher wages to workers and measures to boost liquidity of employees, as it looked to contain the impact of unprecedented nationwide lockdown over the deadly COVID-19
"The Rs 1.75 lakh crore package announced today missed out on a crucial issue of the migrant workers returning to their own states," CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury said in a statement.
"We have airlifted Indians from many countries abroad, surely our own brethren should have been provided with food and shelter, to either stay where they are currently or to be transported to their home states," Yechury said.
"This failure is defeating the purpose of this 21-day lockdown when big crowds are surging, threatening 'community-spread'. This should be remedied at once," the Left leader said.
Yechury pointed out that while some proposals in the package, such as provision of doubling food grains, free gas cylinders for three months, a 1-kg of pulses per family, have some merit, but they were "thoroughly inadequate".
"The key to resist COVID-19 is good nutrition. This does not serve the purpose," he said.
"The announcement to give Rs 1000 to aged widows and the disabled is too little," Yechury said. "The insurance cover for health workers come at no cost to the government. There is no clarity if this covers the private sector."
He underlined that what the health workers required immediately was protective gear, medicines and adequate testing facilitie, adding that there was no mention of this."
Yechury said while the government had announced that each farmer would be given Rs 2,000, it was the first instalment that is due to them under PM KISAN scheme announced just before the 2019 polls.
The transfer of Rs 500 to Jan Dhan accounts held by women is too inadequate, he said.
"We had asked for a direct transfer of Rs 5000 for each month for the next three months, for all Jandhan account-holders and BPL families. There is no substantial benefit for Workers.
"The 24 per cent of monthly wages into their own Provident Fund (PF) accounts does not give them any extra relief - this is their due, their own savings!" he added.
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