Former President of the Indian National Congress, Rahul Gandhi addressed the media in a virtual press conference and offered various suggestions to tackle the Coronovirus crisis in the country. He also urged the government to ramp up the testing and termed it to be the only weapon.
Addressing the testing rate of the country, Rahul Gandhi said that the country is currently at a very low rate with 199 tests per million. He also pointed out that the average test per district has been only 350. He proposed to ramp up the testing along with carrying out random testing to get an idea of the movement of the virus. Gandhi went as far as saying more testing is ‘our only weapon.’
Gandhi claimed that the lockdown is only a pause button but not a solution. He also urged the Prime Minister to empower chief minister and district authorities. Gandhi strongly advocated the bottom-up approach.
Suggestions on Economy
On the economic front, Gandhi pitched for the NYAY scheme which his party had proposed during the election campaign of 2019. He asked the government to deposit cash into the account of the 20 percent of the poorest families and sought the expansion of dry ration scheme even to those who don’t have a ration card. Focusing on the problem of the MSMEs who have been shut for a long time, he asked the government to formulate the plan for it to function.
Above all, Gandhi urged the government to focus on public healthcare infrastructure and asked the establishment to prepare for a plan to ramp up the public healthcare system. He also asked the government to disburse more cash to the state governments at the earliest.
On the imposition of the lockdown, Gandhi claimed it to be a pause button instead of a solution. He also advised that Chief Ministers should take decisions about relaxing the lockdown restrictions.
“We are a decentralized country. The response in Kerala is different from, say, in Uttar Pradesh.”
When asked about the shortcomings of Prime Minister Modi in handling the crisis, Gandhi responded saying he would answer it once the country comes out of the crisis.