NEW DELHI: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Thursday said that nationwide lockdown is not a solution to COVID-19 and the time must be utilised to significantly bolster the existing medical infrastructure as well as take steps to deal with the worrying economic fall out.
"The lockdown is in no way a solution to COVID-19. It is like a pause button. We need to ramp up our medical infrastructure, testing facilities...We need to develop an architecture to deal with the crisis," he said.
The Congress leader, talking to press persons through video conference, also said that what India needs at the moment is aggressive testing.
"One advice to Govt, it’s something I've been saying time and again, push testing aggressively, maximise testing and use it strategically. Use testing to assist states in their fight, not just to track patients but to see where virus is moving," he said.
“Our testing rate is 199 out of a million. All tests that we have done in last 72 days works out to approximately average of 350 tests per district," he added.
Gandhi, insisted that there is need for devolution of powers to states to help them effectively deal with the situation. He added that a "blunt instrument" should not be used and what is needed is a "nuanced" and strategic approach.
"It is important to focus on the strategy after lockdown. What will be the strategy for testing? How will you prepare PHC and hospital? Because, the cases will increase after lockdown. Action should not be delayed," the former Congress president said.
He also said that NDA government led by Narendra Modi should implement the NYAY Yojna (a minimum income guarantee scheme) that the party had unveiled during the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
"Like the NYAY scheme, give money directly to 20 per cent of the poor because they are facing difficulties. Use some other name instead of NYAY," he said.
He also said Centre should also create defensive package for micro, small and medium enterprises and protect big strategic companies.
When he was asked where PM Narendra Modi went wrong, he replied saying, “I will give the answer the day we have beaten the coronavirus.”