Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, who has been critical of the Government’s handling of the Coronavirus crisis, on Thursday made a rare acknowledgement saying the financial assistance package announced by Union minister Nirmala Sitharaman “is the first step in the right direction”.

He said India owes a debt to its farmers, daily wage earners, labourers, women and the elderly who are bearing the brunt of the ongoing lockdown.

“The Govt announcement today of a financial assistance package, is the first step in the right direction. India owes a debt to its farmers, daily wage earners, labourers, women & the elderly who are bearing the brunt of the ongoing lockdown,” Gandhi tweeted.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman earlier in the day announced a relief package worth Rs 1.7 lakh crore for the poor via cash transfer and food subsidy amid lockdown to fight the Coronavirus pandemic.

Announcing the relief package, the Finance Minister said the PM Garib Kalyan Yojana will benefit migrant workers, rural poor and the women.

“Government announces Rs 1.70 lakh crore package under PM Garib Kalyan Yojana. The government is working for those who are directly affected like migrants, labours, women etc. We are now announcing a package for poor and those who need immediate help. No one will go hungry,” said Sitharaman while addressing a press conference.

The finance minister further announced medical insurance cover of Rs 50 lakh per healthcare worker for three months.

Earlier, Rahul Gandhi had slammed the Central government over its preparedness to tackle the Coronavirus outbreak saying he is “feeling sad” about the crisis the country is facing.

In February, Rahul Gandhi had tweeted regarding the urgency to address the coronavirus threat. “The Corona Virus is an extremely serious threat to our people and our economy. My sense is the government is not taking this threat seriously. Timely action is critical,” he had said.