WHO chief lauds Modi for Coronavirus relief package for poor

NEW DELHI: World Health Organisation (WHO) chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus Thursday praised steps taken by PM Narendra Modi to help poor during the 21-day nation-wide lockdown imposed to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus. Taking to Twitter, he praised PM Narendra Modi for announcing relief package for poor and needy that provided free food rations, cash transfers and free cooking gas.

“My appreciation to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for announcing a $24 billion package to support Flag of India’s vulnerable populations during COVID19 crisis, including: -free food rations for 800M disadvantaged people; -cash transfers to 204M poor women -free cooking gas for 80M households,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a tweet. He further said that many developing countries may struggle to implement social welfare programs upto this scale. “Countries are asking people to stay home and shutting down population movement to limit COVID19 transmission. These steps can have unintended consequences for the poorest and most vulnerable.

I call on countries to ensure these populations have food and life essentials during the crisis,” WHO chief tweeted. To protect the poor from the economic impact of the lockdown, the Narendra Modi government on 26 March announced a ₹1.7 lakh crore Prime Minister Gareeb Kalyan Yojana. Announcing the Covid-19 measures, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had said the relief package includes direct benefit cash transfers, free LPG, grains and pulses for the poor. The idea behind these measures is to put money in the hands of the poorest Indians and at the same time ensure that they don’t go hungry. —Agencies

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