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Congress terms PM Modi’s Covid-19 address hollow, says no mention of financial package

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PM Modi's Covid-19 address on 14 April. Photo | YouTube
PM Modi’s Covid-19 address on 14 April. Photo | YouTube


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New Delhi: The Congress on Tuesday termed as rhetoric and hollow on specifics the prime minister’s address to the nation, saying there was no mention of a financial package or concrete steps to revive the economy.

Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala asked where is the country’s roadmap to fight coronavirus.

He said leadership does not mean making people realise their responsibilities but to fulfil the government’s duty of accountability towards the people of the country.

“A lot of talk has taken place. But, where is the roadmap to fight corona,” he asked.

Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram said, “The poor have been left to fend for themselves for 21+19 days, including practically soliciting food. There is money, there is food, but the government will not release either money or food. Cry, my beloved country,” he said on Twitter.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday announced that the lockdown across the country will be extended till May 3 to fight the coronavirus pandemic, saying the measure has produced a significant outcome in containing the infection.

Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said the PM’s address was like Hamlet without the Prince of Denmark.

“Amazing PM address. Exhortation, rhetoric, inspiration…..yet hollow on specifics! No financial package, no details, no concrete item. Neither for poor nor middle class nor industry nor businesses. Lockdown is good but cannot be end in itself! Where is single livelihood issue,” he asked.

He said the PM be assured that all stakeholders will do their duties and will strictly observe lockdown.

“After this: should we pray? We want concrete palliatives for these deprived classes and even for middle india and MSMEs,” he said.

“Pm address wo single specific and without guidelines is like Hamlet without Prince of Denmark. Like PM without details! We want increased GDP allocation; specific targeted monetary injections; Keynesian spending; loosen FMRB etc. not a single word!,” he tweeted.

Chidambaram also said that he welcomed the lockdown and understands the reason for its extension.

He, however, said the CMs’ demand for money elicited no response.


Also read: India can prevent long-term lockdown, contain Covid if 90% people download Aarogya Setu


“Not a rupee has been added to the miserly package of March 25, 2020. From Raghuram Rajan to Jean Dreze, from Prabhat Patnaik to Abhijit Banerji, their advice has fallen on deaf years,” the former finance minister said.

While supporting the PM’s announcement of extending the lockdown, Congress leader Shashi Tharoor said the PM should have also announced serious relief for those who cannot make ends meet.

“I support the announcement by @PMOIndia @narendraModi of Lockdown extension. Can’t discard the gains being made,” Tharoor tweeted.

“But he should have also announced serious relief for those who cannot make ends meet. MNREGA payments, JanDhan accounts, GST dues to states and aid to sweeten the pill,” the MP from Thiruvananthapuram said.


Also read: Lockdown extended across India until 3 May, PM Modi says adequate stock of food, medicines


 

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India

Andhra doctor, suspended for alleging PPE shortage, now beaten by cops for ‘creating nuisance’

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A doctor with a stethoscope (Representative image) | Pixabay


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Bengaluru: A doctor with a government hospital in Andhra Pradesh, who was suspended for questioning the shortage of PPE kits, was admitted to a mental health facility Sunday, a day after he was allegedly manhandled by the police and arrested for creating nuisance in Visakhapatnam.

Dr Sudhakar Rao, a government civil surgeon, was beaten, his hands tied behind his back and dragged by police officers Sunday. During the incident, Sudhakar allegedly verbally abused the Jagan Mohan Reddy government in an inebriated state. Videos of the incident have since been widely shared online.

“The police control room received a call about a person creating nuisance on Beach Road Hospital in Visakhapatnam. The Fourth Town police was rushed there and found that the person was the suspended doctor, Sudhakar.

“When the police tried to control him, he snatched the mobile phone of an officer and threw it away. He is suffering from mental disorder and he was drunk. He was sent for a medical examination,” Vishakapatnam Police Commissioner R.K. Meena told the media Sunday.

Sudhakar was admitted to a mental hospital Sunday after doctors at the King George Hospital in Vishakapatnam said he suffered from anxiety.

“Since the doctor is in anxiety and talking irrelevant things, I have referred him to a mental care hospital in Visakhapatnam,” said Dr Radha Rani, medical superintendent, King George Hospital.

A statement released by the hospital said: “Dr Sudhakar was brought to the KGH casualty ward at 6.30 pm. From the smell, it was found that he was in a drunk condition. Under the influence of alcohol, he did not cooperate with anybody there and kept abusing all. Still, his pulse, BP were checked. Pulse was 98, BP 140/100. Blood samples were sent to forensic lab to ascertain alcohol content in his blood.”


Also read: 6 toilets for 20 houses, inadequate testing: Why Mumbai’s Worli chawls are a Covid hotspot


‘Treatment towards Sudhakar was inhuman’

Sudhakar, who spent more than 10 years at the Narsipatnam Government Hospital in Andhra Pradesh, was suspended from his duties in March after he openly criticised the Reddy government for failing to provide PPE kits and N95 masks to doctors treating Covid-19 patients.

He had alleged that the state government was giving N95 masks and PPE kits meant for doctors to politicians and the police.

A video of Sudhakar criticising the government was also shared widely. In the clip, he can be heard saying: “We are putting our lives at risk here. We are asked to use the same mask for 15 days and a fresh mask will be provided only twice a month.”

Speaking to ThePrint, Dr P. Gangadhar Rao, member of the National COVID Committee of the Indian Medical Association, said the manner in which Sudhakar was manhandled by the police was “inhuman” and “violated” human rights.

“We strongly condemn the way he was taken into custody. He was not carrying a weapon, he was alone, the number of policemen outnumbered him. Why treat him like that? We also saw a video where a policeman beats him with a lathi,” said Dr Gangadhar.

He added that Rao was one of the most experienced anaesthetists the Andhra Pradesh government had.

“Our next step of action is to get Sudhakar to write an unconditional apology for having used filthy language, abusing the chief minister and the government. We will then take our appeal to the CM seeking that he be reinstated,” Gangadhar said.


Also read: Face shields, gowns, masks — the new attire for cabin crew post lockdown


 

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