Covid-19: Congress gets 60k responses on MSMEs, set to invite tips on other key issues
A senior Congress functionary said the party received around 60,000 responses from the people on its different social media platforms for an economic stimulus package for MSMEs hit hard by the nationwide lockdown being implemented to contain the coronavirus pandemic.Updated: Apr 28, 2020 18:27 IST
Buoyed by the public response to its request for suggestions on the revival of the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) sector, the Congress is all set to invite the views of the people on other key issues confronting the country due to the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
A senior Congress functionary said the party received around 60,000 responses from the people on its different social media platforms for an economic stimulus package for MSMEs hit hard by the nationwide lockdown being implemented to contain the coronavirus pandemic.
“This was a very successful experiment and we are going to replicate it on other issues. This overwhelming response to our initiative also reflects that the people who don’t want to speak in public space wrote to us in private,” he added.
Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi had launched the party’s online campaign for the revival of MSMEs on April 22.
“Covid-19 has devastated our micro, small and medium businesses (MSME). The Congress party needs your help. Send us suggestions and ideas for what a MSME economic stimulus package should cover on voiceofmsme.in or in our social media platforms,” Gandhi tweeted using the hashtag “HelpSaveSmallBusinesses”.
The suggestions were then assessed by the Congress’ newly formed consultative group, headed by former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, and some of those were included in party chief Sonia Gandhi’s letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on April 25.
In her letter, she urged the Prime Minister to announce an immediate Rs 1 lakh crore “wage protection” package and a credit guarantee fund of an equivalent amount for the revival of MSMEs, warning that if problems of the sector are not addressed it could have a devastating effect on the country’s economy.
MSMEs contributed close to one third of the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP) and accounted for almost 50% of exports and employed over 11 crore people, she said, adding that at this moment, without appropriate support, more than 6.3 crore MSMEs stand on the verge of economic ruin.
“It was Rahul Gandhi’s idea and he is actually driving this initiative himself,” said the Congress functionary quoted above.
“We are now seeking public suggestions through our social media properties on other important issues confronting the nation in the midst of the Covid-19 crisis – be it the freeze on dearness allowance of central government employees and pensioners or the problems faced by stranded migrant workers,” he added.
The Congress is also planning to seek legal recourse to the government’s move to freeze the dearness allowance of Central government employees and pensioners, and is currently in the process of drafting a petition on the issue.
Terming it an “insensitive and inhumane” decision, the Congress insisted that the government should have instead suspended the bullet train and Central Vista beautification projects costing “lakhs of crores of rupees” to the state exchequer.
The government on April 23 froze from January 1, 2020, to June 30, 2021, the inflation-linked allowance for its 1.1 crore employees and pensioners, a move states are likely to replicate, helping save around Rs 1.2 lakh crore that could be used to fight the pandemic.
“If the government cuts its own wasteful expenses by 30%, it could yield around Rs 2.5 lakh crore and that amount could be used in paying the dearness allowance and relief for employees, pensioners and defence personnel who are at the forefront in the fight against deadly coronavirus,” Congress’ chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala had said.