Covid 19 Measures: CPI(ML) Red Star Demands:
Announcement of 21 days Lock down should be followed with providing one month’s wage, food and medi-care for the vast number of poor people.
Prime minister Narendra Modi has announced complete lock down or curfew allover the country for 21 days from the midnight of 24th March in continuation to the Janatha curfew of 22nd March and lock down in most of the areas after that. He claims that according to excellent expert advise this is the only way to save Indian people and their children from the ravage of COVID 19. We do not challenge it at this time when we are engaged in facing the crisis created by the COVID 19. Similarly, when the question of taking up the testing of 10% of the people for COVID19, the question of providing adequate medical kits atleast to all doctors, issuing an ordinance to bring the huge private medical sector under government control etc are not even mentioned in the PM’s speech today, how far we can break the chain is also a disputable question. But, instead of going to these discussions, if the expert advise the PM received demands 21 days lock down, virtual curfew, is needed, we accept it.
But when unemployment had reached a 45 year record, as we had pointed out repeatedly following the 19th March speech of the prime minister, even in today’s speech he has only mentioned Rs 15,000 crore fund for medical preparations. Once again he has not mentioned a economic package to provide food and medical care to the nearly 50% of the 1,34 billion population in the country, who have lost jobs and are very poor. As a result of economic slow down for last few years already unemployment and impoverishment of the vast masses of people had reached dangerous low levels. From 22nd Janatha curfew onwards they are totally jobless. In addition to this, as all train services and inter state bus services are closed down for a week now, many of the migrant workers who wanted to go back are shelter-less also. Due to agrarian distress the condition of the agricultural workers in the rural area is alo very bad. Altogether all these sections amounts to 40-50 crores of people who depend on daily earnings. Following last one week’s loss of job, how can this section survive 21 days of lock down, which the police is asked to implement ruthlessly, and the uncertainty after that? All of them want urgent help for food and other immediate requirements. That is why everybody was expecting an economic package from the PM.
Similarly, as the police is asked to close even district to district transport also what will be the arrangements for uninterrupted supply of food and essential goods? So many questions are left unanswered. It wll create a crisis from day one itself, and if the central and state governments do not take steps urgently, there is going to be enormous starvation deaths and anarchy very soon.
So we demand: (1) Make the government-run healthcare network effective to its full capacity, immediately acquire support of the private-sector healthcare network through an ordinance and get medical kits needed from the doctors to the patients to masses on a massive scale urgently.
(2) The government should organize a COVID-19 fund. Urgently to cover the payment of one month’s pay to all those who lost the job, Rs 5000 to all other poor families along with ration, cost of immediate food, shelter and medi-care for all affected people.
(3) Make arrangements for regular and sufficient supply of food items and all essential services to all people all over the country.
CPI(ML) Red Star.
24th March 2020