In her second letter to the Prime Minister in a week, Sonia Gandhi offered five suggestions to the Central government to cut its expenditure and diverting the funds to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
Gandhi began the letter congratulating the Prime Minister for the move to cut down the salaries of the Members of Parliament. She conveyed the support of her party and listed out a point by point suggestions to lessen the expenditure of the government. She also mentions that the letter is in response to the telephonic conversation she had with the Prime Minister.
2 Year Ban on Media Advertisements
Sonia Gandhi suggested that the government should immediately impose a ban on media advertisements – television, print and online – by the government of India and the public sector for a period of 2 years. The only exception being advisories related to COVID-19 and public health, she mentions. The central government had spent 1,250 crore rupees annually on media advertisements.
In her second suggestion, she asked for the suspension of the 20,000 crores ‘Central Vista’ construction project. At a time like this, she says, to carry out such a plan is ‘self-indulgent.’ Instead, she pointed out that the fund can be utilized to construct hospitals and upgrade infrastructure and diagnostic facilities in the existing hospitals. Gandhi also asked for a 30 percent reduction in expenditure budget that could be allocated towards weathering the problem of the poor and establishing economic safety for them.
Divert Funds from PM Cares to PMNRF
Gandhi also called for a hold in foreign visits by the Prime Minister, President, Union Ministers, Chief Ministers, and bureaucrats unless it is urgent and is of national interest. The center had spent 393 crore rupees on foreign visits in the year 2019. At last Gandhi suggested that the money under the PM Cares fund to be transferred to the Prime Minister National Relief Fund to ensure transparency. Currently, there is an unutilized fund of 3,800 crore rupees in the PMNRF that, according to the Congress President, could be utilized to provide food security to those who are the very margins of the society.