Economic Shutdown Due to Nationwide Lockdown Could Disastrously Amplify Coronavirus Death Toll, Rahul Gandhi Tells PM Narendra Modi
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi (Photo Credits: IANS/File)

New Delhi, March 29: Congress lawmaker Rahul Gandhi on Sunday wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, asking him to reconsider the nationwide lockdown imposed to prevent the spread of coronavirus. In his letter to PM Narendra Modi, Rahul Gandhi said the lockdown will have an adverse impact on the economy and this could "disastrously amplify the death toll arising from the COVID-19 virus". He also sought time-bound implementation of the economic package announced by the Modi government. Coronavirus Outbreak Live News Updates on March 29.

Seeking to reconsider the countrywide lockdown, Rahul Gandhi said: "It is critical for us to understand that India's conditions are unique. We may be required to take different steps than other large countries who are following a total lockdown strategy. The number of poor people in India who are dependent on a daily income is simply too large for us to unilaterally shut down all economic activity. The consequences of a complete economic shut down will disastrously amplify the death toll arising from the COVID-19 virus." Mann Ki Baat: PM Narendra Modi Seeks Forgiveness From Citizens, Especially Poor, For Hardships During Coronavirus Lockdown.

Expressing concern over migration of workers, Gandhi urged the government to ensure facilities for them where they currently are. "Millions of India's elderly live in villages. A complete lockdown and the resulting shut down of our economic engine will almost certainly ensure that millions of unemployed youth rush back to their villages, increasing the risk of infecting their parents, grandparents and the elderly population. This will result in a catastrophic loss of life," the Wayand MP highlighted.

Gandhi urged the government to set up big dedicated hospitals and manufacturing the required equipment for treatment as fast as possible. He also urged to increase the number of tests to get a more accurate picture of the spread of the infection. He said that the Centre should provide help to the migrant workers and labourers struggling to return to their native places from big cities after the lockdown was imposed in the country by providing them assistance and direct financial help.

"It is also absolutely critical that we set up a defensive wall around our key financial and strategic institutions to protect them from the shock wave that is bound to come as the true impact of the virus and our economic shutdown hits us a few weeks from now. Our informal economy and immense network of small and medium businesses and farmers are going to be vital to any rebuilding effort. It is crucial that we engage them in a conversation, build their confidence and protect their interests with correct and timely action," he said.

The Congress leader extended his support to the Centre by stating, "We stand together with the government in fighting and overcoming this tremendous challenge." The death toll in India due to coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, has climbed to 25, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said on Sunday.