The Polit Bureau of the CPI(M) appeals to the people to observe March 22 as a day of People’s solidarity in the fight against the coronavirus.
However, since the Prime Minister has not proposed any concrete steps to deal with the health and economic aspects of this fight, the CPI(M) appeals to the people to observe the day with the following demands:
1. Scale up testing for the virus to cover the widest sections of people, especially those with some symptoms like cold, fever, cough etc.
2. Announce increased expenditure to strengthen public health system with adequate free testing, hospital facilities, isolation wards and ventilators. Rope in private hospitals to provide free treatment of coronavirus patients.
3. Give cash transfer of Rs. 5,000 to Jan Dhan accounts and all BPL beneficiaries. The Centre should provide the funds to the states for this.
4. Give free ration for a month through PDS to all BPL/APL families, including migrant labour utilizing the huge existing stock of 7.5 crore tonnes in the FCI godowns.
5. Expand MGNREGS for 150 days and ensure all who want to avail it is given work.
6. Expand and strengthen the public distribution system to cover all essential commodities.
7. In lieu of mid-day meal scheme in schools, provide ration kits to the children’s houses/families.
8. Institute financial packages for sectors hit by the pandemic. This financial support must be conditional to the companies and enterprises not resorting to lay-offs and termination of jobs for the next three months.
9. Constitute a fund to extend financial assistance/allowances to all workers in the informal and unorganized sectors whose livelihood is affected.
10. Workers and employees who have to stay away from work due to the coronavirus should be given paid sick leave.
11. A moratorium on bank loans for a year for SMEs and retail traders.
(For CPI(M) Central Committee office)