PM Modi asks states to prepare their plan on exiting lockdown


Interacting with the chief ministers, the Prime Minister said that the states are in a better position to assess the Covid-19 situation since they are “acquainted with the ground realities”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has asked all states to prepare their plan on exiting the lockdown by demarcating districts as red, green and orange based on the level of infection in order to restart economic activity without dropping guard against the coronavirus pandemic.

He made the suggestion at a video conference with chief ministers on Monday. Economic activities are likely to reopen in orange and green districts, which have far fewer cases or none. The prime minister urged the chief ministers to make efforts to convert red zones into orange and then into green zones.

NDTV quoted the prime minister as saying that the country has to give importance to the economy as well as continue the fight against Covid-19. He noted that the lockdown declared by the government had saved thousands of life in the past one and a half months.

Five of nine Chief Ministers, who spoke at the meeting said the lockdown should end, while the rest were in favour of extending it for the sake of controlling the spread of COVID-19. The Prime Minister stressed on the need to follow the mantra of "do gaz doori (six feet apart)" and said masks would remain a part of our lives for times to come, said the NDTV report.

The prime minister indicated that private cars may be allowed with restrictions but the ban on public transport would continue. Schools and colleges are likely to remain shut and the ban on religious meetings and congregations will also continue.

Hindustan Times reported that Meghalaya said it will likely extend the lockdown while Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh felt curbs should be in place but left the decision to the Prime Minister, according to officials aware of the developments.

Others — Mizoram, Puducherry, Uttarakhand, Odisha, Bihar and Haryana — who got the chance to speak in the fourth such meeting between Modi and the CMs since March 22 supported the lifting of the lockdown.

Modi stressed that there will be no discrimination against states on the basis of the number of infections and all will be equally treated.

“With all humility, I want to tell CMs, if there is a spike in cases, your state will not be seen as guilty. If cases are low in your state, it will not be seen as a great (achievement). We don’t want this sentiment...,” he was quoted by HT as saying.

Modi asked chief ministers to ensure there is no stigma attached to the coronavirus disease Covid-19 in their respective states.

Those who have contracted the disease should not feel that it is their fault, they should not be perceived as criminals, the PM further said. He assured that if a spurt in cases is reported from particular area, that state won’t be seen as guilty, according to the HT report.

This was PM Modi’s fourth such interaction with chief ministers since March 22 when he first spoke to them on the coronavirus situation and steps taken - both by the Centre and the states - to contain the pandemic. Two days later, on March 24, the Prime Minister announced a 21-day nationwide lockdown. He extended the lockdown till May 3 on April 14, the last day of the initial three-week shutdown.

Image Credit: Business Standard


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