Chidambaram Lauds Lockdown, Suggests 10 Steps For Poor

Former union minister P Chidambaram on Wednesday suggested a 10-point plan to augment the income of farmers, poor and vulnerable classes of the society whose earnings have taken a hit due to the lockdown imposed in the country in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

Chidambaram said that the 10-point plan “is intended to put cash and food immediately in the hands of the poor and the vulnerable. It is placed for the consideration of the government and for an immediate announcement of relief.”

Under the plan, the former finance minister has suggested doubling the “amount paid under PM-KISAN to Rs 12,000 and transfer the additional amount immediately to the bank account of each beneficiary and also to bring “tenant farmers under PM-KISAN…. and transfer Rs 12,000 in two installments to the bank account of each tenant farmer.”

He has further vouched for transferring a sum of Rs 3,000 to the bank accounts of registered MGNREGA workers and for the urban poor, transferring a sum of Rs 6,000 into their Jan Dhan accounts.

Provision of 10 kilograms of free rice or wheat, as a one-time measure for the 21 day period, has also been suggested by him.

He has also urged the government to ensure that the registered employers maintain the level of employment and wages in this period of crisis.

He has also asked for a ward or block-wise register to be maintained which includes all those people who are not excluded from the payments received in any of the above categories and then opening a new bank account for them.

Apart from these, he has also asked for extending the deadlines of tax payment till June 30 and that of all kinds of EMI payments to banks till the same date.

Chidambaram has also asked for cutting Goods and Service Tax (GST) rate by 5 percent on all wage goods, essential goods and services, and all goods of mass consumption between April 1 and June 30.

The 10-point plan, as per the senior Congress leader, is a measure that solves the immediate challenges, and further many such challenges, he warns, will have to be addressed in the coming days.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a 21-day lockdown in the entire country to deal with the spread of coronavirus, saying that “social distancing” is the only option to deal with the highly contagious virus. (ANI)

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