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PM Modi hints lockdown won’t be extended, calls for ‘common exit strategy’ to fight pandemic

Speaking to CMs at video conference, Modi asks states, UTs to send suggestions on 'common exit strategy' to ensure entire population doesn’t come out at once when lockdown ends.

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New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi Thursday called for a “common exit strategy” between the central government, states and union territories to ensure the entire population doesn’t come out at once when the Covid-19 lockdown ends. 

Speaking to chief ministers via video conference, he asked states and union territories to brainstorm over the proposal and send in their suggestions, sources privy to the discussions said. 

Modi’s proposal was seen as a hint that the 21-day lockdown in place since 25 March might not be extended.

“Social distancing to contain the spread of Covid-19 will be all the more imperative once the lockdown period ends,” said a state government official who attended the meeting. “And it will be the states that will have to ensure that people don’t come out in droves once the lockdown ends. It can’t be business as usual. That is why the PM wants the states to give their suggestion on an exit strategy.”

The national lockdown, announced by Modi in an address on 24 March, is meant to contain the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic, and restricts outdoor movement for everyone except those providing essential services. 

“May not #21daysLockdownIndia go waste. Even after lockdown, follow corona prevention safety measures like wearing a mask, cleanliness, distancing etc. Being responsible will save us: PM,” Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu tweeted after the meeting, quoting the Prime Minister.   

According to a statement issued by the Press Information Bureau (PIB) on the video conference, the PM warned states and union territories that the global situation with respect to Covid-19 was far from satisfactory, and informed them about speculation regarding a possible second wave of infection in some countries.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah, who also participated in the meeting, said some states needed to implement the lockdown more strictly, the PIB release stated. There is a need for an effective district-level implementation of the guidelines issued by the central government, he added.

Also Read: Lessons from Italy on Covid-19 and how India’s lockdown turned shambolic

‘Testing, tracing priority’ 

During the interaction, which was aimed at discussing how states were tackling the Covid-19 pandemic, PM Modi said testing, tracing, isolation and quarantine should be the focus areas of the government in the next few weeks.

The focus on testing and tracing assumes significance in the backdrop of what happened in South Delhi’s Nizamuddin area, where a March congregation of the Tablighi Jamaat, a Sunni Islamic missionary organisation, has been linked to around 400 positive Covid-19 cases, according to health ministry data.

The Ministry of Home Affairs has asked states to identify the over 3,000 people who are believed to have taken part in the religious congregation, which was held at Nizamuddin Markaz between 13 and 15 March.  

According to government sources, the chief ministers of Tripura and Telangana informed the PM about the measures being taken to track individuals who had attended the Tablighi Jamaat congregation, and identify and quarantine them to arrest transmission.  

Also Read: Govt prescribes ‘Yoga with Modi’ for foreign envoys battling stress of Covid-19 lockdown

CMs ask for financial aid  

The issue of providing timely relief, be it food or shelter, to the migrant labourers stranded in different states also came up for discussion. 

While the PM called for a staggered release of funds to beneficiaries of the PM Garib Kalyan Yojana — the series of lockdown relief measures announced for the economically disadvantaged last week — to avoid crowding at banks, chief ministers of at least two Congress-ruled states sought more financial aid from the central government to fight Covid-19.    

Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot said at a subsequent Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting, also held via video conference, that he raised the issue of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Generation Act (MGNREGA) workers being rendered jobless by the lockdown.

The details of the CWC discussions were shared by Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala on Twitter. According to him, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel also raised the issue and said his state was yet to receive the central government’s share of MGNREGA funds. 

“Out of nearly Rs 400 crore, only Rs 75 crore has been received. Mazdoors need to be given three months’ advance in their account,” Surjewala quoted Baghel as saying at the CWC meeting.

States also spoke about the importance of mobilising resources, financial as well as medical, to mitigate the crisis. The Puducherry CM demanded a special financial package from the PM to fight Covid-19.

According to the PIB statement, Modi highlighted the necessity of maintaining the supply of essential medical products, besides ensuring the availability of raw material for the manufacture of medicines and medical equipment.

Also Read: Bigotry over Tablighi Jamaat is a familiar pattern. All Muslims will be blamed for acts of few



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  1. India should make district wise Red Zones and lockdown only those districts where Coronavirus cases are present. Movement of people across districts should be stopped by closing borders and deploying heavy police personnel

  2. What happened to the endowment dept. Sri padbhanabha swamy gold ,and the other temples shares deposited in banks cant they be used in such situations

  3. Lockdown should be extended.. people do not listen.. they roam and if lockdown will be lift they will again roam freely..

  4. Please extend the lockdown. Will come to zero again if u believe people will follow common exit strategy

  5. Let me name the next phase of strategy:
    Qu= Quarantine
    I= Isolation
    T= Testing

  6. While the state governments deal with controlling the spread, maintaining supplies, the central government should focus on the economy. In the US, 3.3 million unemployment claims were filed in the first week, 6.6 million in the second. No reason to believe the Indian economy is doing any better, although this precision of data is unavailable. It also underlines how grim the recovery phase will be after the medical emergency subsides. The whole approach to dealing with the economy will have to be transformed, of which changes in thee economic team is only one part.

  7. Salary cuts for state government employees are coming into force. Painful but unavoidable. A period of austerity lies ahead. Printing money to spend our way out of crisis is not a responsible option.

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