'India can't have lockdown of people, economy lockout'

India can't have lockdown of people, economy lockout: Kapil Sibal

Senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal. (PTI Photo)

Congress on Saturday called for a re-think on the lockdown measures, citing the adverse impact of the stringent restrictions to fight coronavirus on the economy.

“You cannot have a lockdown of the people and lockout of the economy,” senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal told reporters at a press conference through a video link.

Sibal accused the Modi government of not formulating a national plan for handling the coronavirus crisis.

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“We are not criticising. We are only saying it is time to rethink. We are with the government. This is constructive criticism,” the former union minister said.

He said under the Disaster Management Act, the government was duty-bound to formulate a national plan but strangely the government has maintained a “conspicuous silence”.

Sibal claimed that the Centre has delegated its responsibilities to the state government and left it to them to deal with the Covid-19 situation without the necessary infrastructure and financial resources.

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The Congress Working Committee, at its meeting on Thursday, had asked the government to utilise the remaining period of the lockdown to formulate an exit strategy and a comprehensive map for the future.

Congress President Sonia Gandhi had warned that the extension of lockdown in the present nature would be more devastating.

“Our Prime Minister’s limited role, so far as we can see, is addressing the nation from time to time. The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) made no preparations to put in place a plan despite the WHO declaring the virus to be a public health emergency towards the end of January,” Sibal said.