Cong panel to give Centre MSME revival plan soon
After the meeting, the opposition party reiterated its demand for immediate direct cash transfer of Rs 7500 in all Jan Dhan, pension and the PM-Kisan scheme accounts to enable the poor and the needy sustain themselves during the lockdown period.Updated: Apr 21, 2020 02:17 IST
The newly-created Congress consultative committee, headed by former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, met for the first time on Monday and discussed the revival of the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) sector, smooth crop procurement and the issue of stranded migrant labourers due to the nationwide lockdown to contain the deadly coronavirus disease.
After the meeting, the opposition party reiterated its demand for immediate direct cash transfer of Rs 7500 in all Jan Dhan, pension and the PM-Kisan scheme accounts to enable the poor and the needy sustain themselves during the lockdown period.
Giving details of the meeting, former union minister Jairam Ramesh said the Congress panel will prepare a detailed plan for revival of MSME together with steps to ensure smooth procurement of wheat, mustard and gram besides resolving the pressing issue of stranded migrant workers and submit it to the central government in a day or two.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Saturday formed the consultative committee under the chairmanship of the former Prime Minister to deliberate on current matters, including those related to the Covid-19 outbreak, and formulate the party’s views on various issues.
The 11-member group also comprises former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi, party’s chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala, general secretary in-charge organisation KC Venugopal and former union ministers P Chidambaram, Manish Tewari and Jairam Ramesh.
The other members of the group are technology and data cell chairman Praveen Chakravarty, spokespersons Gaurav Vallabh and Supriya Shrinate, and social media department head Rohan Gupta.
Ramesh said the panel will meet every other day to discuss the important issues faced by the country due to the pandemic.
“We have worked out a very concrete MSME revival package which we will submit to the central government in a day or two,” Ramesh said, addressing a news conference through video conferencing.
He said both the former Prime Minister and Rahul Gandhi insisted that absolute priority be given to the MSME sector, which has social and economic importance and is the second largest employer after agriculture.
Ramesh said the Congress will also make positive recommendations to the government to ensure smooth crop procurement and resolution of the problems of stranded migrant workers.
He said the party once again urged the government to transfer Rs 7500 to all Jan Dhan accounts, all pension accounts of the elderly, differently abled and widows, and also those under the PM-Kisan scheme.
“I am sure a compassionate and a responsible government can find funds to provide for the vulnerable,” he said when asked if the country has funds of this nature to spare.
“It is the matter of priorities. It is absolutely essential for the survival of tens and thousands of people who need immediate assistance to tide over the crisis,” added Ramesh.
He said the Congress will keep giving constructive suggestions to the government and hope it will take those positively. Rahul Gandhi too had also advocated constructive support to the government in his press conference last week.
“We need to work with the government in these difficult times with a positive mindset. We are extending our hand for constructive cooperation and hope the government will come down from its pedestal and accept our positive suggestions. We are giving these suggestions on behalf of the people of India,” Ramesh said.
The panel in its next meeting will discuss the lockdown exit strategy after May 3.
Ramesh also alleged that the Centre was busy “destabilising” the Madhya Pradesh government and was “caught napping in preparation for managing” the Covid-19 pandemic as a result of which the action got delayed.
“The government did not act on time while dealing with the crisis and was busy in toppling the government in Madhya Pradesh. The government only woke up on March 23 but this is no time to play politics,” he said.
Separately, a meeting of the Congress Working Committee (CWC) has been called on Thursday to discuss the Covid-19 pandemic and the lockdown situation. The meeting will be held through video-conferencing.