The Congress party on Thursday launched Speak Up India movement to draw attention to the plight of migrant labourers and raise public support for their help.
Lakhs of migrant labourers have been rendered jobless due to the coronavirus induced lockdown and forced to vacate their shelters in foreign cities and rush to their home states.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi, in a video message shared on party’s social media, charged that the central government has failed to address the immediate needs and concerns of the labourers and workers while many jobs were lost, workplaces were shut down, farmers were made to struggle to sell their crops due to the ill-conceived lockdown. Gandhi suggested that the centre directs cash transfer to migrants and poor families and financial relief to MSMEs.
“Put direct cash of Rs 7,500 per month in the account of every family for the next six months and provide Rs 10,000 immediately; ensure safe and free travel of labourers back home, employment opportunity and rations; and also increase the number of workdays under MNREGA to 200 days to facilitate jobs in villages,” said Gandhi.
“Instead of loans, provide financial relief to the small and medium industry so that crores of jobs are saved and the country progresses,” she added.
Highlighting her party’s efforts to help the poor and the needy, Gandhi mentioned that Congress workers across the country have been persistently making all efforts to provide relief activities adding that the state units of the Congress are taking all necessary measures to send migrants back home without any cost.
Sonia Gandhi said that the entire country suffered due to the lockdown but Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government is yet to realize it, blaming the Centre for turning a blind eye to the misery of scores of people while asserting that Congress has launched Speak Up India campaign to provide a platform for the “voiceless”.
Former union minister and senior Congress leader P Chidambaram demanded that the government ensures free and safe travel to the migrants who are leaving for their homes.
Party General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said, “We have, in our own capacity, helped at least 90 lakh people in the last one-and-a-half month. We urge people to take to Twitter, Facebook or any other social media platform to raise voice for the people who are struggling in these situations.”