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Modi 'fails to address' concerns of crores of poor, downtrodden hungry masses, workers

By Amarjeet Kaur*
The address of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the nation on April 14 was another disappointment. It appeared to be more of an exercise to justify and reply to the criticism of delayed cognizance of Covid-19 pandemic while it was spreading in different parts of the world, and the sudden lockdown without any consultation with chief ministers, political parties and even Parliament which was on till March 23, without any preparations for such a drastic step which was to bring everything to stand still.
The government made this sudden step of lockdown without any notice and time frame for the working people, the migrants who lost their jobs and livelihood ,the students from different states, or the people who were away to other states for tourism or visits for any other family reasons are trapped.
Among them the worst sufferers are the crores of migrant workers, who are in anxiety, with desperation hunger facing them. Several instances of protests have been met with high handedness instead of empathy, counseling and meeting their regular basic needs of food, water, medicines and minimum of hygiene. An advisory for these sections could have issued with the first address of the Prime Minister before the lockdown was declared.
Flawed policies of the government were covered with rhetoric. Around six lakh persons who reached India from different parts of the world including from the Covid-19-affected nations since December 19. No screenings were done in the beginning and no strict advisories were issued for 14 day self-quarantine. Tests in proportion to our population are too few in number.
Modi once again failed our frontline fighters, asking citizens to give respect to them, but refused to condemn or restrain those who are attacking them/ harassing them at their work places, residential places or the markets. Neither did he assure them that the government would meet all their needs of safety, even as there was a need for the expansion of health facilities for the citizens.
PM failed our frontline fighters, asking citizens to give respect to them, but refused to condemn or restrain those attacking them
The Prime Minister advising not to remove workers from jobs has no relevance until its implementation is ensured. The earlier advisory by the Ministry of Labour in March is being flouted with impunity by employers. He did not utter a single word about the payment of wages or very poor implementation of the promised cash transfer to Jan Dhan accounts (half of which are already redundant).
Money to construction workers is also not being transferred to their accounts. Almost 60% of them are unregistered workers and have nothing to depend upon. The delivery of rations to below poverty line (BPL)-above poverty line (APL) card holders is not being implemented properly, and the poor masses without documents are facing hunger.
In fact, the Prime Minister did not assure to the people that the government will be doing enough to ensure food to all. Instead, he told citizens to provide food to the hungry.
The Prime Minister recalled Babasaheb Ambedkar, mentioned constitution and referred to the constitution being of ‘we the people’, but he failed to utter a single word to direct vigilante and communally-organized groups to stop fake news and spread hatred by targeting minority communities, attacking them physically and harming them economically.
Minorities are being stopped from vending, hawking or running shops of essential commodities permitted under the lockdown regime. They are also being discriminated against while provisioning them with ration and food distribution.
---
*General Secretary All India Trade Union Congress

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