Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Friday said the nationwide lockdown, announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi last month to curb the spread of coronavirus, will put additional burden on the economy. The poor, farmers and labourers, she said, are the worst sufferers, and hope the centre has a plan to reverse the damage.
"The lockdown is going to put a lot of burden on our economy. The economy was already in crisis - and now it seems that difficulties will increase. We have to be ready for it," Mrs Gandhi was quoted as saying by news agency PTI at a meeting of senior Congress members.
"We hope that the government comes out with a plan to meet this challenge. The poor, farmers and labourers are suffering the most," she added.
Most of the businesses across India came to a grinding halt as the centre announced the nationwide lockdown last month, triggering concerns that suppressed economic activity might bring a severe downturn.
The International Monetary Fund, one of the largest global financial body, has also warned of an economic crisis unlike any in the past century.
In India, the worst-hit from the lockdown are the daily-wage earners. Without prospects of landing a job or the reserves to stay locked in their homes for weeks, thousands of migrant workers across the country left metropolitan cities for their hometowns, many on foot.
As they posed a massive health risk, the centre asked the states to seal borders. Thousands were confined to make-shift coronavirus camps.
"Due to the lockdown, the poor laborers left for their villages, and our workers got down to help them. Even today, all over the country, Congress workers from every district are engaged in this work," Mrs Gandhi said.
Responding to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's outreach to the opposition in the fight against coronavirus, Mrs Gandhi earlier this week suggested cancelling the "self-indulgent" Rs 20,000 crore "beautification project" in the heart of Delhi, suspending official foreign tours and stopping government ads.
With inputs from PTI