Prime Minister Narendra Modi's meeting with Chief Ministers of states and a union territory has begun to discuss a graded exit from the coronavirus-led lockdown and measures to revive the battered economy. This is PM Modi's 5th video-conference meeting with Chief Ministers after the outbreak of coronavirus in the country.
According to sources, lockdown is unlikely to be withdrawn in one go as states may seek graded exit. Post lockdown 3.0, the country may see more easing of restrictions.
As India enters the last week of the 54-day lockdown, today's discussion will revolve around strategies to improve the COVID-19 containment and stepping up of economic activities in a calibrated manner.
PM Modi might talk about how to curb the spread in Maharashtra and Gujarat, the worst-hit states. The meeting will also focus on scaling up all efforts to bring more 'red' zones with high COVID-19 case load into 'orange' or 'green' zones. The Centre and states may work on different strategies for red and other zones.
During their fifth video conference in 51 days, PM and CMs will discuss issues related to the large-scale movement of migrant workers from urban to rural India and the problems their return to home states may cause in restarting the economy.
In the meeting, PM Modi said that there is a global recognition for India's success in handling the COVID-19 pandemic and the Centre appreciates the efforts made by all state governments in this regard. Let us stay the course as we move forward together, he said.
Going forward, the road ahead should be focused on reducing the spread and ensuring that all precautions are taken by people including social distancing norms by observing 'Do Gaj Doori', he added.
We now have reasonably clear indication as to the geographical spread of the coronavirus pandemic in India, including the worst affected areas. Moreover, over the past few weeks, officials have understood operating procedures in a time such as this, right up to the district level, he said.
We wanted people to stay where they were, but they want to go back home so had to change strategy, PM said in the meeting. We must ensure that rural India remains free from COVID crisis, PM tells CMs.
During the meeting, PM Modi hinted that COVID-19 cases increased in those areas where ever there has been laxity in enforcing lockdown challenges. He mentioned that night curfew has proved to be an effective tool in containing the spread of the virus.
Unlike earlier meetings, where only selected numbers of CMs were allowed to speak, this time all chief ministers will put their views during today's video conference. The meeting which started at 3 PM is likely to continue till 9.30 PM. A 30 minute break will take place at 6 PM.
On Sunday, Union cabinet Secretary, Rajiv Gauba, held a video conference with various states' chief secretaries. In the meeting, states told Gauba that although protection against COVID-19 was necessary, attention to the revival of economic activities was also needed in a calibrated manner. The chief secretary sought the cooperation of state governments in running special trains for transportation of stranded migrant workers across different parts of the country. Three-hundred and fifty such trains carrying 3.5 lakh labourers have been operated so far, the cabinet secretary said.
By Chitranjan Kumar with ANI inputs