Congress chief Sonia Gandhi has written to Prime Minisyer Narendra Modi, urging him to rollout a relief plan for the unorganised sector in the wake of the lockdown forced by the spread of coronavirus in the country.
"Considering the extraordinary situation, I request you to consider advising the state building and other construction welfare boards to roll out emergency wage support for the construction workers who are in distress," Sonia Gandhi said in her letter to the Prime Minister.
The Congress president said that over the last year, lakhs of migrant workers in major cities across India have left for their hometowns and villages fearing a prolonged economic downturn.
"As the second largest employer in India, over 44 million construction workers are now faced with a precarious future. Many are stranded in cities and are deprived of their livelihoods due to the stringent lock down measures," Mrs Gandhi said.
Congress President & CPP Chairperson Smt. Sonia Gandhi writes a letter to PM Modi urging him to provide immediate support to workers in the informal sector. pic.twitter.com/yHrB6dXh7i— Congress (@INCIndia) March 24, 2020
Nearly all of India - 32 states and union territories covering 560 districts - are under a complete lockdown to contain the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus or COVID-19.
Nearly 500 people have tested positive for the virus in the country and nine have died.
Sonia Gandhi has also directed all Congress Chief Ministers to take steps to ensure welfare of those working in the unorganised sector since many of them had lost jobs as a fallout of the coronavirus pandemic.
"At this juncture it is critical that such workers are given benefit which they are entitled to under various statutory provisions," Mrs Gandhi wrote in a letter to the Chief Ministers of Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Punjab and Puducherry. She also asked them keep her informed about the work done by them.
Her son, Rahul Gandhi, meanwhile, tweeted that crucial time for preparedness has been missed.
"I am feeling sad, because this was completely avoidable. We had time to prepare. We should have taken this threat much more seriously and have been much better prepared," he tweeted.