Senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday over the complete lockdown by saying that the ‘complete economic shutdown’ may ‘disastrously amplify the death toll’.

“Millions of India’s elderly live in villages. A complete lockdown and the resulting shut down of our economic engine will almost certainly ensure that millions of unemployed youth rush back to their villages, increasing the risk of infecting their parents and the elderly population living there. This will result in a catastrophic loss of life,” he said.

“It is critical for us to understand that India’s conditions are unique. We will be required to take different steps than other large countries who are following a total lockdown strategy. The number of poor people in India who are dependent on a daily income is simply too large for us to unilaterally shut down all economic activity. The consequences of a complete economic shut down will disastrously amplify the death toll arising from the COVID-19 virus,” he added.

Congress leader also highlighted the migrant workers’ plight in his letter to the Prime Minister. “They are rendered totally vulnerable without their daily wages or access to nutrition and basic services. They are struggling to reach far away homes and seek refuge. It is important that we help them find shelter and provide them with money directly into their bank accounts to help them tide over the next few months,” he said.

“Our informal economy and immense network of small and medium businesses and farmers are going to be vital to any rebuilding effort. It is crucial that we engage them in a conversation, build their confidence and protect their interests with correct and timely action,” he added.

Earlier, Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhavi has also launched an attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi after he admitted of inconvenience caused due to the lockdown.

“The lockdown was announced with the same haste with which demonetisation was done,” Singhvi had said.