Press Trust of india

Lockdown imposed in unplanned manner, no exit strategy either: Cong

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New Delhi: The Congress on Wednesday accused the government of implementing the countrywide lockdown in an unplanned manner and also alleged it does not have any exit strategy.

Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said this government is synonymous with “inefficiency, incompetence and insensitivity” and its taskforce has been indulging in “data jugglery” to claim that “there will be zero cases by May 16”.

“This government has become synonymous with inefficiency, incompetence, and insensitivity,” he said.

“Lockdown might be a good technique and we support it. But this government has no strategy for going into lockdown or coming out of it,” Singhvi told reporters at a virtual press conference.

“What has been the cost-benefit ratio of an unplanned lockdown and a clueless government on how and when to exit it? Let the nation judge,” he asked.

He said the government’s own taskforce showed a graph of coronavirus cases, with everything peaking on April 24 and then dropping to zero on May 16.

“Is it (the government) shamelessly misleading its people without any apology and contrition,” he asked.

The Congress leader said the cases, deaths and testing are the three major parameters for gauging the country’s COVID response, and the Modi government has “failed you miserably on this”.

Singhvi also alleged that according to a CMIE study India’s unemployment rate as of May 3 is at a record high of 27.1.

“India’s unemployment rate is four times that of the US and you have given 400 times less economic support to your employees,” he said, noting that the rate of unemployment was 8.7 pc in March before the lockdown came into force to contain the spread of coronavirus.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that when we come to look back on this, damage done by lockdown will exceed any saving of lives by a huge factor. Lockdown is a huge mistake. Countries applying them harshly will be harshly judged,” Singhvi said quoting Nobel Laureate Michael Levitt.

He said among 122 million people who have lost their jobs, 91 million are small traders and labourers, while 18 million salaried class.

On an age analysis, he said 27 million youth in age group of 20-30 lost their jobs in April 2020 and 33 million people in their 30s lost jobs in April.

The Congress leader also alleged that 383 people have died due to lockdown till May 10 and 58 due to starvation and financial distress, 91 suicides due to fear of infection, loneliness etc, 89 road or train accidents due to walking/migration.

“What has been the cost-benefit ratio of an unplanned lockdown,” he asked.

Citing figures of various countries on the rate of testing for COVID-19, he said, Iceland has tested 166 persons per 1000 population, Italy 50, USA 34, Singapore 31, South Africa 7.7, Taiwan 3, whereas India just 1.5 per persons.

During the lockdwn period, the percentage coronavirus growth rate between 2nd and 3rd lockdown is 170 and 257 between the third and the fourth lockdown.

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