The Congress on Friday said Prime Minister Narendra Modi has dashed the hopes of Indians who were expecting answers from him on critical questions on the fight against coronavirus, steps to revive the economy and on helping all those affected due to the lockdown.
Party spokesperson Pawan Khera also raised questions on the low testing for coronavirus in the country, saying it is the first step towards containing the virus. He said the country was expecting answers from the prime minister during his address on the issues of shortage of personal protection equipment and on helping the poor and migrant labourers who were without food and money.
"Respected prime minister, today when you addressed the nation, we expected you to make some announcements and share some information with the country," he said addressing a press conference through video conferencing.
"The country was dejected today, people did not get any information they were expecting from you on critical questions," he said.
Khera said while the country will support the prime minister in switching off lights and lighting candles, just as they did while clapping for doctors and paramedics, but some questions need to be asked and answered.
"It is the responsibility of the government to provide that equipment and fixed responsibility for the delay in doing so. The poor, labourers and farmers for whom you want us to light a candle also deserve to have fire in their stove. It is the responsibility of the government to ensure this," he said.
The Congress leader said the nation expected Modi to announce that personal protection equipment have been made available for lakhs of doctors and medical staff working amidst a great threat to their own lives.
"Today the country expected you to declare that Rs 7,500 will be deposited in the Jan Dhan Accounts, in the PM Kisan Scheme accounts and the pension accounts.
"The jobs card holders of MGNREGA were expecting you to announce an advance payment of three months in their accounts. State governments were hoping that you would announce payment of GST dues," he said.
"In a country with the population of 130 crores, we have tested less than 50,000 people. As the prime minister it becomes your duty to inform the country of the steps being taken to increase the number of tests. Testing is first critical step towards containing coronavirus," the Congress leader said.
Khera said the epidemic has impacted the life of every human being and has caused disruption in their daily lives.
He said fresh vegetables are either rotting in the fields or in the mandis and as a result, the farmer is not able to sell his vegetables and the consumer is not able to get them.
The unprecedented rise in the prices of vegetables and essential commodities in the last 10 days is a result of a complete collapse of inter-state and intra state supply chain, he said, adding that 60 per cent trucks are off the roads either due to sealing of borders or due to the financial difficulties faced by the drivers.
Of the 12 million kirana stores of the country, only 2.5 million are open and the rest are shut because of disruption of supplies of essential commodities, he said.
"The Centre's intervention is a must. We were hoping that you would inform us of the steps taken to restore the supply chain," he noted.