Responding to the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s call for suggestions on India’s fight against Covid-19, opposition party leader, Smt. Sonia Gandhi sent a letter giving five ideas for the government to adopt.
The letter came a day after the cabinet decided to cut 30% of the salary for MPs. In her letter, Sonia Gandhi expressed her support for the decision and further offered what she called "five concrete suggestions.”
- End ₹20,000cr Central Vista plan; use money for infra & PPE
She urged the government to suspend the Rs 20,000 crore "Central Vista" project. "At a time like this, such an outlay seems self-indulgent to say the least. I am certain that Parliament can function comfortably within the existing historical buildings," Sonia Gandhi wrote. She further wrote that the money saved could instead be used to build new hospital infrastructure and diagnostics apart from equipping frontline COVID-19 workers in a better and more efficient manner.
- Reduce 30% Government expenditure and use for economic safety net
Referring to the salary cuts, the Congress chief urged the central government to make a "proportionate reduction of 30%" in its own expenditure and instead utilise the funds to aid migrant workers as well as many others in the unorganised sector.
- Hold foreign visits of Central and State Governments
Sonia Gandhi further wrote that "all foreign visits" should be put on hold. "The amount (which is around Rs 393 crores for just the Prime Minister and Union Cabinet's trips in the last five years) can be utilised extensively in measures to combat Covid-19," she remarked.
- Place ban on ads by the Govt. & PSU's for the new two years
The Congress leader also suggested a ban on TV, print and online media ads by the government for the next two years, apart from news providing related to coronavirus.
- Transfer funds under PM Cares to PMNRF
Lastly, Sonia Gandhi recommended that all the money under the "'PM Cares" fund should be transferred to the Prime Minister's National Relief Fund so that they can "ensure efficiency, transparency, accountability and audit". She called it a "waste of effort and resources" to have and create two separate silos for the distribution of funds, referring to the fact that Rs 3,800 crore was lying unutilised in the PM's relief fund.