On Thursday, Congress President Sonia Gandhi in a video message urged the Centre to unlock its coffers and help the migrant workers who have been trying to return to their hometowns amid coronavirus pandemic.
Accusing the Narendra Modi government of not listening to the plight of the migrant workers, Gandhi demanded the government to provide Rs 7,500 to every needy of the country for next six months.
Speaking in the Congress' 'SpeakUp' campaign to take the voice of poor, migrants, small businesses and the middle class to the central government, Sonia Gandhi said, "In the last two months the lockdown to combat the spread of novel coronavirus (Covid-19), has created a huge problem of economic crisis."
"For the first time after independence, people have seen the pain and plight of the migrant workers travelling back bare foot. Their pain and plight was heard by the entire nation but not by the government," she said.
She further said that crores of jobs have been lost, many factories shut, farmers facing issues in selling crops but the government could not assess it.
The Congress leader, who is also the Lok Sabha MP from Rae Bareli, said, "Since day one, all Congress leaders, economists and people from the civil society urged the government that it is time to heal the wounds of the people. But the government is not ready to understand or help the people." she said.
"Thus Congress has decided to raise the voice of the people. We request the central government to give relief to the needy people and provide every family Rs 7,500 for six months. And instantly provide Rs 10,000 into their bank accounts," Sonia Gandhi said.
She also asked the government to arrange for the free and safe travel for the stranded migrant workers and also arrange for their employment.
"Increase employment days to 200 under MGNREGA so that they can get jobs in their villages," she said, adding that the government also needs to help the small and medium scale industries in these tough times so that crores of jobs are saved.
She further said that through social media, the Congress leaders, workers, activists are raising this demand once again. She also urged the people to participate in the campaign and raise the issues being faced by the people.
Gandhi had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and gave five suggestions to avoid an economic crisis in the country at the backdrop of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Gandhi said that it is essential to highlight an economic concern that needs immediate attention and intervention. " If ignored, this issue has the potential of having a devastating and expansive ripple effect on our economy," she said.
Meanwhile, Rahul Gandhi has been speaking to experts across India and world about COVID-19 related issues and has also held several press conferences with national and regional media during the lockdown.