Rs 30,000 Crore Welfare Cess Not Spent, Use it For Coronavirus Subsidies: Sonia Gandhi to PM Modi

Rs 30,000 Crore Welfare Cess Not Spent, Use it For Coronavirus Subsidies: Sonia Gandhi to PM Modi

New Delhi: Congress president Sonia Gandhi has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi asking for economic relief for construction workers in the apprehension of 'a prolonged economic downturn'.

The construction sector, she said employed around 44 million workers who were now "stranded in cities and are deprived of their livelihoods due to the stringent lock down measures'.

She requested that large-scale subsidies for the construction workers be announced, on the lines of what has been provided by countries like Canada as part of its Covid-19 economic response plan.

In the letter dated March 23, the interim president of the Congress said that there were enough provisions within the Building and Other Construction Workers Act to announce such measures.

“It provides for various welfare measures for workers. The Act also provides for constitution of State Welfare Boards and the constitution of welfare fund,' she said.

She also highlighted that only Rs 19,379 crore of the Rs 49,668 crore cess collected for the welfare boards has been used and suggested now was the time to spend that money for the welfare of the workers.

Her son Rahul Gandhi, the former President of the party, has repeatedly suggested that the government was not prepared enough for the Coronavirus pandemic or the financial 'tsunami' that would wreck devastation in the coming days.

Some other senior leaders of the party, including its leader in Lok Sabha, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, have also suggested that the government does not have enough resources to deal with the global pandemic or its economic fallout.

Former Union Minister and senior party leader P Chindambaram has also asked the Centre to now announce some economic measures to deal with the ongoing healthcare and financial crisis.

All eyes will be set on the measure the Prime Minister announces in his address to the nation later during the day.