Congress President Sonia Gandhi has backed the 21-day lockdown enforced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to contain the spread of COVID-19 in the country. PM Modi on Tuesday, March 24, announced that the whole of India will be locked down till April 14 barring the essential services.

"The 21-day 'Nation-wide Lockdown' announced by you as a measure to fight the Coronavirus is a welcome step," Sonia Gandhi said in a letter that she wrote to PM Modi.

Sonia Gandhi

"As President of the Indian National Congress, I would like to state that we will support and collaborate fully with every step taken by the Union Government to ensure the containment of the pandemic," she added.

Sonia Gandhi made several suggestions to PM Modi

  1. In her 4-page long letter to PM Modi, Sonia Gandhi laid down a few suggestions for the Centre to fight the pandemic. She asked the Union Government to set up a special "Risk Allowance" for health workers for a period of six months.
  2. She said that the doctors and nurses should not face a shortage of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) including N-95 masks.
  3. Besides, Sonia Gandhi also advised the PM to 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.
  4. Citing concerns for daily wagers across the country, Sonia Gandhi asked the Union Government to put in place broad-based social protection measures including Direct Cash Transfer.
  5. She also said that this is the right time to implement the Minimum Income Guarantee scheme i.e. NYAY Yojana, which was proposed by the Congress, to help the poor during the lockdown.
  6. Alternately, she suggested a cash transfer of Rs 7500 to every Jan Dhan Account Holder, PM Kisan Yojana Account Holder, MGNREGA worker's accounts and all old-age/widow/differently-abled person's Pension Account.