All India Trade Union Demands Rs 5 Lakh Crore Package To Deal With Covid-19
A worker pulls a loaded cart along a road in Assam, India. (Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg)

All India Trade Union Demands Rs 5 Lakh Crore Package To Deal With Covid-19

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All India Trade Union Congress on Wednesday demanded a Rs 5 lakh crore package from the central government to deal with the Covid-19 outbreak, saying the Rs 15,000-crore package announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi is a "meagre amount".

"AITUC demands of Rs 500,000 crore package from the Central Government to meet this calamity," an officialstatement said. "We at the AITUC while taking the lockdown as necessary step as a preventive measure to stop the spread of Covid-19 infection, are extremely disappointed at the very meagre amount of Rs 15,000 crore allocated by the Prime Minister in his address to the nation on March 24 whereas for a small state like Kerala announced Rs 20,000 crore package."

The union demanded from the Modi government to immediately come out with a clear policy and package to deal with all these issues at the earliest otherwise anxieties of no work and no food amongst masses will create problems in dealing with Covid-19 pandemic.

It said that the poor masses like daily wagers, labourers, hawkers, vendors, coolies, porters, and domestic workers are losing their livelihood in the lockdown. They have been left in the lurch for nothing to bank upon, AITUC said.

They need immediate financial relief, free ration and free fuel to cook food. In many cases for destitute food should be provided from state-run outlets, the trade union said. This requires a big economic package from the government, it suggested.

"The Finance Minister was only busy in announcing an increase in deadlines for filing IT returns, GST, about TDS or the cases under bankruptcy act etc. but no announcement for the 40 crore (informal sector workers) out of about 54 crores of working people who are looking towards the incumbent government for help," it said.

It was of the view that the government has to immediately increase the financial package for health to tackle the needs of the medical fraternity and the expansion of health infrastructure. It noted that the dire need of the country is for testing and provision of all-out medical help to all those infected cases.

A warlike preparation is needed for the provision of ventilators, masks, increased bed capacity, availability of medicines, maintenance of hygiene, etc. The front soldiers in the case of medical help are our doctors, nurses, other para-medical staff and cleaning staff, etc. who need to be taken care of.

But it is they who are being neglected and not fully equipped as the requests and complaints from them including from All India Institute of Medical Science Resident Doctors Association are all in open for all to see, it said. "We deplore that the government of India allowed export of all these required equipment in fighting Covid-19 till March 19 2020 despite WHO guidelines to stop it at the beginning of February itself," it added.

Also read: Where Are We in Quest for Coronavirus Drugs, Vaccine?

The harassment of doctors, nurses, etc. to vacate residential premises is a most shameful act which must be taken cognizance of by the concerned authorities and the guilty be booked to give a clear signal to the society, it said.

The workers and employees of the permitted essential services by the government are not being allowed to commute the workplaces by police in many areas despite they have identity proofs provided by the government departments and public sector offices, it stated.

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