New Delhi: The Congress on Friday said migrants and daily wagers should be giving ration and cash as incentives to instil confidence in them to stay in cities during the nationwide lockdown imposed to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.
The party also urged the Kejriwal government to waive school fees and fixed power charges for shopkeepers, and pay 75 per cent salaries of teachers in aided schools, as it put forth a 10-point demand charter before the Arvind Kejriwal dispensation to help those in distress.
Senior Congress spokesperson Ajay Maken demanded from the city government that “all micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) should be given 75 per cent of their employees’ salaries for three months” to help them tide over the current crisis.
He also sought Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), to be notified as regulations, for delivery agents in Delhi as a COVID-19 prevention measure.
On Thursday, a pizza delivery agent tested positive for the coronavirus in south Delhi, following which 89 families whom he delivered pizza to were put under home quarantine.
Maken said all the people who came in contact with the delivery agent have been quarantined and they should be immediately tested for the virus.
Testing should be ramped up in the national capital, he said while addressing a press conference through video-conferencing.
Maken also asked the government whether Delhi had entered the community transmission stage (stage-3) of the virus as 135 people have been kept “under investigation”.
The former Delhi Congress chief said, “migrants should be incentivised in Delhi and in other towns as they are the backbone of any city and demanded that they be given Rs 7,500 per month immediately to help them cope with the crisis.”
“Migrants are the backbone of any city and hence they should be incentivised to make them feel safe in Delhi and other towns”Ajay Maken-Senior Congress Spokesperson
He demanded payment of ration for two months to the poor and vulnerable, besides advance payment of pension to senior citizens and widows, and risk allowance to sanitation and frontline health workers.
Maken asked for an allowance of Rs 5,000 to all the unemployed people in the national capital.
He suggested that random testing should be ramped up. “India has the lowest population wise testing in the world for COVID-19. India needs to equal the best in the world on testing levels,”Maken said.
He noted that India is not among the top 40 safest countries to challenge the virus.
As part of its 10 suggestions to the Kejriwal government, Maken said Delhi has one of the highest cases at 1,640.
“There are 135 patients under investigation. So, have we entered the stage 3 of COVID-19? Fifty-five healthcare professionals have been infected in Delhi.
“Highest in the country, but no efforts by the Delhi or the Union government to procure new ventilators, while the faulty ventilators at many places still exist,” he said.
He said aggressive testing both at the state and national levels need to be done.
“We suggest SOPs for delivery boys should be prepared and be notified as regulations so that they are binding on everyone. Protection gears, including sanitisers, mask, and hand gloves, should be provided by employers,” the Congress leader said.
He said the Rajasthan and Punjab governments — both Congress-ruled states — have deferred fixed charges on electricity bills of all non-domestic and industrial connections for March and April.
The Delhi government should ensure that no fixed charges on electricity bills are charged for the period of three months from the industrial and non-domestic (commercial) connections, he demanded.
He also said that two months ration including 70kgs of rice, 2kgs of sugar and 3kgs of pulses, be given to all households in slums, and resettlement, unauthorised, and unauthorised-regularised colonies.
This, he said, will cover around 60 per cent of households in Delhi.
He said the Delhi government should pass an order for not charging any fees and should ensure 75 per cent of the salaries for the teachers are provided to schools.
” Private or government safai karamcharis (sanitation workers) and healthcare workers should be provided Rs 7,500 per month as risk allowance for three months,” Maken said.
On the pattern of that in Punjab and Rajasthan, two months pension for senior citizens, widows and physically challenged should also immediately be released.
Besides, all unemployed youth up to the age of 35 yrs, who have already registered up to April 30, should be provided unemployment allowance of Rs 5,000, he said.