New Delhi, March 26: Cutting across the party lines, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Thursday appreciated the Narendra Modi government for announcing financial assistance package for poor during the 21-day lockdown to avoid the spread of coronavirus. In his tweet, Rahul Gandhi called the Centres decision as “first step in the right direction.” Coronavirus Live Map: How to Track The Spread of COVID-19 Across The Globe With This Dashboard.

The Congress leader tweeted, “The Govt announcement today of a financial assistance package, is the first step in the right direction. India owes a debt to its farmers, daily wage earners, labourers, women & the elderly who are bearing the brunt of the ongoing lockdown.”

Rahul Gandhi's Tweet:

Gandhi praised the centre’s move, hours after her mother and Congress President Sonia Gandhi wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and extended her party's full cooperation to the Central government in the nationwide lockdown. Sonia also demanded that the government should provide protection aid and equipment to medics and health workers and implement its proposed Nyuntam Aay Yojana (Nyay scheme) to contain the economic distress.

Earlier in the day, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced several measures for people affected due to the 21-day lockdown. Addressing a press conference, Nirmala Sitharaman announced a relief package of Rs 1,70,000 crore for poor. The Centre will provide free food and cash to 80 crores people.

The Finance Minister also praised ASHA workers, doctors, sanitary workers, para-medics for their contribution in the battle against the coronavirus. She announced an insurance cover for them of Rs 50 lakh per person. For the poor, Sitharaman announced 5 kg of rice or wheat and 1 kg of preferred pulses for free every month for the next three months.

In India, the number of COVID-19 cases has risen to 649 so far. Seventeen people also lost their lives. The maximum number of cases 126 cases were reported from Maharashtra. Four deaths were also reported from the state.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Mar 26, 2020 04:30 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website