Govt must protect salaries of workers: Chidambaram

Govt must protect salaries, wages of workers: P Chidambaram

Former union finance minister P Chidambaram speaks during a press conference. (PTI Photo)

Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Wednesday urged the government to announce a scheme to protect the salaries and wages of 12 crore people as employers are facing financial crunch in the wake of the COVID-19-induced lockdown.

He also called upon the government to announce a financial package for the MSME sector, as proposed by his party and provide financial assistance to states to fight the novel coronavirus pandemic.

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The former finance minister asked the government to prepare an exit strategy in view of the lockdown and look into the issue of migrants stranded in a different place due to it.

"Time is of the essence. In the absence of a clear signal of assistance from the government during these extremely difficult times, the private sector will be forced to resort to large scale retrenchments and layoffs, which will devastate livelihoods of hundreds of millions of people," he said.

Chidambaram also proposed a 'paycheque protection program' for workers.

"We urge the prime minister to step in urgently and announce an assistance package to protect the wages/salaries and paycheques that are due in the next few days," he said at a press conference through video conferencing.

The April salaries of 12 crore employees working in the MSME and non-MSME sector must be protected and the government should do something about this, he said.