Sonia to PM Modi: Set up temporary facilities, give cash transfers to poor

By: Express News Service | New Delhi | Published: March 27, 2020 3:19:12 am

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Congress president Sonia Gandhi. (File)

Asserting that the Congress will support each step taken by the government to ensure containment of COVID-19, Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Thursday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and suggested a series of measures, including construction of temporary health facilities with large numbers of ICUs, tax breaks and interest subvention for small and medium businesses, and cash transfer to the poor and vulnerable sections of the society.

Sonia said there is an urgent need to equip medical health staff with personal protection equipment, including N-95 masks and hazmat suits, and asked the government to scale up manufacturing and supply of these items. She asked the government to announce a special “risk allowance” for doctors, nurses and health workers for a period of six months retrospectively from March 1.

Arguing that there was uncertainty about the designated hospitals and their locations besides the number of beds, isolation chambers, ventilators, dedicated medical teams and medical supplies, she asked the government to set up a dedicated portal for sharing “these and all other necessary information”.

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“Given that even the most advanced and developed healthcare systems in the world are facing an overload of patients and crumbling under the weight of the sheer numbers of affected persons, the Union government could immediately commission and begin construction of temporary facilities with large numbers of ICUs and ventilators in geographical areas where the outbreak is expected to be concentrated in the near future,” she said.

Pointing out that the lockdown period coincides with the harvest season, Sonia asked the government to take necessary steps to enable harvesting and procurement of crops at MSP.

She also stated that the government “might consider deferring all EMIs for a period of six months”.

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