On May 22, leftist politician Yogendra Yadav had posted a statement issued by several ‘economists, intellectuals and activists’, calling for a 7-point plan of action of action to combat the situation arising out of Coronavirus outbreak. While some of the demands are already being taken care of by the government, and some are general leftist demands, one particular point in their proposal had attracted widespread criticism.
The point number 7.1 in the so-called ‘Mission Jai Hind’ had called for the government to take over all properties of private citizens and treat them as national resources. The point said, “All the resources (cash, real estate, property, bonds, etc) with the citizens or within the nation must be treated as national resources available during this crisis.”
The so-called intellectuals clearly said that govt should take over all cash, real estate, property, bonds belonging to private citizens and treat them as national resources to be used in the war against coronavirus. This is obviously a very dangerous proposal, and as expected received only few takers. Even people in the left-liberal eco-system didn’t agree to this.
After receiving wide-scale criticism, the group has now revised the point number 7.1 in their proposal. Now the point says, “The government must explore emergency ways of raising resources going beyond the usual set of taxes and levies to cope with the problem of funding large relief packages”.
This is a significant climb down for the leftists, who are usually not known to respect the views of others. But even while they changed their proposal, they didn’t leave this opportunity to peddle another lie. While posting the amended proposal, Yogendra Yadav said that the point 7.1 had attracted undue attention. He claimed that it was “interpreted to mean a call for nationalisation/expropriation of private property”, and it was ‘far from their intention’.
If it was far from their intention, then the ‘intellectuals’ write very bad English, because that is what their original proposal meant. If something is to be treated as ‘national resources available during this crisis’, it means those resources will have to be taken over by the government, either permanently or temporarily. It can’t mean anything else, and it does not convey any other message that Yogendra Yadav and his friends may be suggesting.
Even though only one suggestion attracted attention of people, it does not mean that other suggestions are very good. Even though they have modified the point number 7.1, they have retained the point number 2.2, which called for use of private infrastructure for free quarantine, and private hospitals, ICU beds and ventilators. Thereby, they are still proposing that govt should take over private hospitals and institutions for free Coronavirus treatment and quarantine.
It may be noted that coronavirus testing and treatment is already free in all government hospitals and facilities, and even in private hospitals the treatment is available for free for the poor under Ayushman Bharat scheme.
Some of their other proposals are also already being implemented. Their first proposal says bring migrants back withing 10 days without charges. The Railway ministry is already dozens of Shramik Special trains to bring migrants home, and already lakhs of migrants have already availed the services of these trains. They need not pay for travelling in the Shramik trains, as the cost is borne by the central govt and state govts. Their demand to complete this exercise is certainly not practical, as the number of people stranded in other states is huge, and it is not possible to transport such larger number of people in just 10 days. Prior to the lockdown, the number of people who work outside their states were not known. And after the special trains started, lakhs of people registered. Therefore, trains are being arranged as per the demand.
Moreover, the transport of migrants is being staggered on the request of several receiving states, as the incoming migrants need to kept in quarantine. As most migrants are returning from Coronavirus hotspots like Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan etc, they need to be kept in quarantine before they can be tested.
Their suggestion for moratorium on interest on loan payment has also been already announced. Initially RBI announced a three-month moratorium, which have been extended by another three months until 31 August.