CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury on Monday asked the government to set aside separate funds for a substantial package to save the lives and livelihood of crores of people affected due to coronavirus since the Finance Bill has been approved by Parliament.
In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Yechury said now is the time to use our resources for saving lives.
"Now that the Finance Bill has been approved by Parliament, the central government must set aside separate funds for a substantial package to save the lives and livelihood of crores of people," he said.
He wrote that the country and the people are in the midst of the grim battle against the spread of COVID-19 and in many states a general lockdown is being enforced to stop the community spread of the virus.
"Many governments have announced that they will guarantee the payment of at least 80 per cent of salaries drawn by workers who are now unable to attend work. India's government must do so too. There should be a moratorium on bank loans for a year for small medium enterprises (SMEs) and retail traders as well as on EMIs," he said.
Yechury also flagged the necessity to scale up the testing of people, particularly those with declared symptoms.
"All testing kits approved by the National Institute of Virology (NIV) must be utilised. It is strange that the Union Health Ministry has issued a circular that only those testing kits approved by the US FDA and European EC alone will be used. Reports indicate that there is only one manufacturer in Gujarat who produces such kits. In view of the gravity of the situation, this circular must be withdrawn and all kits approved by the NIV must be deployed for use, urgently," he said.
Yechury also demanded that ration kits must be supplied to the families of the children who used to benefit from the mid-day meal scheme.
Free ration through public distribution system (PDS) to all BPL/APL families should be given for a month, he said.
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