P Chidambaram, @PChidambaram_IN – Former Union Finance Minister:
- As among the first to advocate a lockdown, I welcome the central government consulting the states on whether the lockdown should be lifted after April 14.
- The answer to that question cannot be based on personal or sectoral interests. The answer must be determined solely by two numbers — the absolute increase in positive cases every day and the rate of increase.
- As of today, both numbers point to adopting a cautious and conservative approach. What is sorely missing in the lockdown strategy is putting cash in the hands of poor people. There are several sections of the poor who have not received a single rupee from the government.
- With unemployment at 23 per cent (CMIE) and a freeze on daily wages/incomes, the government must immediately find the resources and remonetise (give cash to) the poor. The miserly and cruelly negligent approach of the government has compounded the hardships of the poor.