IMPHAL: CPI (M) has contended that though the Prime Minister listed seven tasks that the people should implement during the extended lockdown, he did not spell out concretely what the government was aiming to do.
In a press release issued by the state secretary, Kshetrimayum Santa, the party presented its views on the extension of the lockdown announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday stating that lockdown was implemented by the people of this country and they will continue it with new hope . However, they were looking forward to concrete measures that the government will undertake to resolve the problems that arose during these 3 weeks and provide the much needed relief for a large number of our poor, marginalised and migrant labour, it added.
“The experience of the 3 week lockdown has shown the large scale spread of hunger and inadequate shelter for a significant section of our people. It is imperative that the government must immediately implement a Rs. 7500 ex-gratia cash transfer to all non-Income Tax paying families and resort to universal distribution of free food grains to all needy people. The Central Government and Manipur Government must ensure that no starvation deaths occur in the state,” the note said.
The party also raised the argument that the financial package of Rs. 1.7 lakh crore announced by the Central Government and the State Government’s spending so far is very meager. It amounts to less than 1 per cent of the country’s GDP. Many countries in the world have announced substantially higher financial packages to meet the consequences of this pandemic India should raise this to at least 5 per cent of its GDP. Even the cash transfers to various sections announced by the FM have not materialized, stated CPI (M) state unit in the release.
Manipur is in the frontline of the battle against the Covid-19 pandemic. Central funds should be liberally distributed among the states so that proper facilities can be provided in relief camps and food for people staying there and the limit for borrowings by the states must be enhanced.
Pointing out that the time is the harvesting season, the release urged the government to ensure compulsory procurement on the declared C2+50% support price. The report of no work under MNREGA is disturbing. All those registered must be paid their wages irrespective of work, the party demanded.
Stating that the lockdown period should have been utilised for conducting large scale testing to identify the clusters where the pandemic is spreading in order to isolate and contain, it maintained that testing, however, remains at a very low level, one of the lowest in the world and even lower than Pakistan.
It is most unfortunate that the Prime Minister did not decry some attempts that seek to sharpen social and communal polarization, the released claimed, adding that the government must ensure that such disruptive efforts do not occur stressing the need for complete unity amongst the people.
The Prime Minister said that the government will review the situation on April 20 and then take measures for some relaxation. Arrangements must be made to transport the migrant workers back to their homes, the Secretariat of Manipur State Committee of CPI(M) and called upon the Central and Manipur governments to immediately address issues raise by the party and notify the necessary guidelines.