New Delhi: Fifty phone lines, multiple screens, 10-hour work shifts for top civil servants and 12-hour shifts for Ministers of State, who now sleep in their offices. This is how the Union home ministry’s office at North Block in New Delhi has been transformed into the Narendra Modi government’s ‘war room’ against the Covid-19 pandemic.
According to a source in the government, four control rooms have been set up in the building to monitor all coronavirus-related information, and everything is being monitored by Home Minister Amit Shah from his residence.
Shah has been meeting officials through video conferencing, but his entire team, including junior ministers G. Kishan Reddy and Nityanand Rai, has been positioned at North Block to work through the night.
Another source said Reddy and Rai have been on 12-hour shifts, and have taken turns sleeping in their offices at North Block.
“This is happening on rotation. While one night Mr Rai is in office, the other night, Mr Reddy is there. This is to ensure that some senior authority is present in office in case of an emergency or crisis situation,” the second source said.
“Apart from the ministers, joint secretary-level officers too are working on an eight-hour roster without any break,” the source added.
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Two key teams
There is a specific team that has been assigned to collate all Covid-19-related data from the health ministry and all state health departments, while another team has been tasked with engaging with all states and union territories for any queries.
The team that deals with data compiles statistics in form of pie-charts, graphs and comparative timelines showing the spread of the coronavirus in different countries across the world, and also maps India’s position.
“It collates all data to show where India stands on the Covid-19 graph as compared to other countries in the world,” a government source said.
“It has all data on how many cases and deaths were reported in India in the first week of the pandemic, as compared to other countries like the USA, Italy and Spain. It helps us get a factual position on the progression of the coronavirus.”
On the team coordinating with states, the source said: “We receive calls from many states about their issues. Many issues that need to be resolved are state-specific. Many have doubts about procedures on how to implement the lockdown. Many have questions regarding the healthcare systems.
“We also try to solve issues between states. It is a crucial period to establish contacts between states and UTs, and we make sure we do that.”
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All ministries’ functionaries under one roof
All the health advisories, notifications, standard operating procedures, guidelines on the lockdown, or any Covid-19 related information, is being dispensed from the control rooms at North Block.
Another source said representatives of all ministries — health, education, labour, skill development and others — are present in the control rooms to look into issues related to their respective ministries.
Ministers are also in constant touch with the functionaries in these control rooms, the source said.
“All senior functionaries are working tirelessly to ensure that necessary steps related to Covid-19 are taken and communicated from these control rooms,” the source said.
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Excellent coverage. Happy to read about a positive step. It is a battle and has to be fought like one. Sad to see that some of us can’t seem to find any positive anywhere around us!
To me, India seems to have handles the pandemic excellently as even with 138 crore population we have a effected number of just 5600 as on 08 Apri! And just 150 deaths! That’s saying a lot!!
To me Govt needs to be criticized for its inability to forsee and address the migrant labour issue. At the same time they need to he complimented on excellent responses and quick decision making. Glad that Mr Modi is at the helm in these difficult times
Ananya is regularly turning out puff pieces. One on amit shah’s unnerving cold stare was a recent example. Now this.
You are damned if you do, damned if you don’t. The PM just can not get a few around even if the cost is the nation. The minorities, the liberal media, intellectuals, communists and Congress…The sin of Modi…winning the second term in spite of their joint efforts and with a higher number of seats, votes percentage…Now, the renegades who left this country for greener pastures have roped in more air power NyT, WaPo, BBC, The Guardian…their Indian sounding named reporters, authors with western connections (Macaulay must be laughing in his grave)… some even have returned to start online news portals to serve their masters…Modi is fighting manfully as he has been from 2002. Will he lose? No way. The poorest of the poor have innate intelligence and they can as they always have sensed integrity of a person. They are behind him in spite of the hardship. The survival gene warns who to trust, Not the ones who are lined up against him what if they went Ivy League, OxCam…No way.
The Print, I think you have a government mole working with you.
Devendra Fadnavis ran a fabled War Room to which journalists were led for a guided tour. It was supposed to speed up infrastructure projects, but all of them, starting with Navi Mumbai airport, were left incomplete when he left.
The Mumbai metro project and Mumbai to Nagpur expressway were running on full steam when Devendra demitted his office.
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