Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on Saturday, held a video conference with chief ministers of 13 states. In the video conference, PM Modi primarily discussed whether a nationwide lockdown to contain coronavirus should be extended or not.
During the video conference, PM Modi underlined that the motto of the government is "jaan bhi jahaan bhi". PM said it was essential for "India's bright future, and prosperous and healthy India".
"While announcing the lockdown, I had said 'jaan hai to jahan hai'...many understood it and remained inside their houses. And now it is imperative to focus on both aspects, 'jaan bhi, jahaan bhi', for India's bright future, and prosperous and healthy India," Modi said.
The Prime Minister also talked about strengthening healthcare infrastructure and reaching out to patients through tele-medicine. He also suggested that direct marketing for farm produce can be incentivised to prevent crowding in mandis, for which model APMC laws should be reformed swiftly.
PM Modi was accompanied by Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, Principal Secretary, Cabinet Secretary and other senior officials of Government of India. Chief ministers Mamata Banerjee (West Bengal), Uddhav Thackeray (Maharashtra), Yogi Adityanath (Uttar Pradesh), Manohar Lal Khattar (Haryana), K Chandrashekhar Rao (Telangana), Nitish Kumar (Bihar), Arvind Kejriwal (Delhi), and Amarinder Singh (Punjab) were also part of the video conference.
The chief ministers provided feedback about the COVID-19 cases in their respective states, steps taken by then to maintain social distancing, ramp up healthcare infrastructure, mitigate difficulties of migrants and maintain supply of essentials. They also suggested that lockdown should be extended by two weeks. They also sought financial and fiscal assistance from the Contre to boost their resources in this fight against the pandemic.
The video conference, which began at 11 am, came even as Punjab and Odisha governments earlier this week announced extension of the lockdown beyond April 14.
This is for the second time the Prime Minister interacted with the chief ministers via video link after the lockdown was imposed. During his April 2 interaction with chief ministers, Modi had pitched for a "staggered" exit from the ongoing lockdown.
Before the lockdown was announced on March 24, the Prime Minister had interacted with the chief ministers on March 20 to discuss ways and means to check the spread of the novel coronavirus.
(With PTI inputs)