World Health Organisation chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus today praised PM Narendra Modi for his efforts to help poor amid the lockdown imposed to contain the coronavirus epidemic.

Taking to Twitter, the WHO chief said that steps like lockdown can lead to dire consequences for the poor and vulnerable section of the society.

“Countries are asking people to #stayhome and shutting down population movement to limit #COVID19 transmission. These steps can have unintended consequences for the poorest and most vulnerable,” Mr Ghebreyesus said.

He praised PM Modi for announcing relief package that provided food rations, cash transfers and free cooking gas.

“My appreciation to Prime Minister @narendramodi 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,” Mr Ghebreyesus added in another tweet.

He further said that many developing countries may struggle to implement social welfare programs up to this scale.

Broad and expedited agreement on debt relief is essential to enable them to care for their people and avoid economic collapse. #Solidarity,” he tweeted.

The government last Thursday announced a Rs 1.7 lakh-crore fiscal stimulus package to help the poor and migrants tackle the financial difficulties arising from the 21-day nationwide lockdown.

Announcing the relief package under PM Gareeb Kalyan Scheme, the finance minister said, “No one will go hungry”, stating that the immediate focus is on alleviating the hardships of the migrant workers, urban and rural poor.

The relief measures included direct cash transfers (under the DBT or Direct Benefit Transfer scheme) and food security-related steps aimed at giving relief to the poor workers hit by the countrywide lockdown.

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