Congress President Post

Modi Didn’t Talk About Testing Cases: Congress

Congress President Post

Supporting the decision to extend the lockdown, the Congress on Tuesday said Prime Minister Narendra Modi did not speak of the government’s strategy about testing for coronavirus during his address to the nation and asked if migrants who have completed their quarantine period will be allowed to return to their homes.

Addressing a press conference through video conferencing, Congress leader Manish Tewari said the Prime Minister told the nation during his address what he expects out of the people but “he did not address the concerns of the people or did not talk about what people want to hear that the government is doing.”

Tewari said that there is a broad agreement between the Centre and states on extending the lockdown. Modi had announced a 21-day lockdown on March 24 and extended till May 3 during his address to the nation on Tuesday morning.

Tewari said that going by scientific evidence available, COVID-19 has 14-day incubation cycle and the total lockdown period of 40 days will cover three incubation cycles of the virus.

“If that is the epidemiological advice which the Prime Minister has received, that is understandable,” he said.

Tewari said the Prime Minister did not speak of migrant workers who rushed towards their homes when the first lockdown was announced.

He said many were stopped and quarantined on the borders of various states.

“They are in camps which are spread out across various parts of the country. Those migrants, most of them have completed their mandatory 14-day quarantine, what are you going to do about them? Are you going to allow them to go back to their homes? Is there a calibrated plan as to permitting them or facilitating their travel?” he asked.

He said the only medical treatment available for coronavirus is pre-emption and prevention.

“And for pre-emption and prevention, what you require is a proliferation of testing. What we have not heard from the Prime Minister is what is the strategy of the government with regard to testing,” he said.

Tewari asked if testing will only be confined to hotspots or will there be community-level screening which will be followed with testing.

“What is the unified strategy that has been evolved in consultation with the state governments with regard to testing,” he asked.

Tewari asked about the roadmap for harvesting. “How are you going to allow people from villages to go out into the fields, carry out the harvest? How was that harvest really going to be then collected and taken to procurement centres and how is that procurement going to be facilitated,” he asked.

Referring to the poor and vulnerable sections of the society, he said MGNREGA jobs were at one per cent of what they were in March and February of 2020.

“There are only 1.9 lakh families who have been able to get work under MGNREGA in the month of April 2020, as opposed to 1.6 crore in March and 1.8 crore in February. What is the government’s strategy to deal with it,” he asked.

The Congress leader said the government should give full wages to people who have active job cards under MGNREGA.

He also asked about action against employers who are sacking their staff. Tewari said the Ministry of Labour in March had written a letter to all employers across the country, the Prime Minister has appealed twice that no employer should sack his workers at this point in time.

“We require compassion, but, all of you are aware of what is happening? What is happening in your industry in the media industry itself? Will the government take action against those employers, who in this time of need and this time of destitution are really looking at their bottom lines rather than at the stomachs of their employees? How is the Government going to deal with those employers?” he asked.

He said the government should ensure that every section including internal migrants without ration cards get ration.

“How are you going to ensure that food reaches all these people? These are extremely valid concerns beyond the larger question of the revival of the economy that the Prime Minister needed to address. He needed to tell the country that these are the 15 things that the government has done in the last 21 days to protect the country,” Tewari said. (ANI)

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