Lockdown in India: As the third phase of the lockdown enters its final week, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will once again speak to Chief Ministers of all states and Union Territories on Monday via video conferencing to discuss the way out. This will be the fifth meeting of the Prime Minister with the CMs since the coronavirus outbreak. According to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), the meeting will begin at 3 PM. The third phase of the lockdown will end on May 17.
“PM Narendra Modi to hold the 5th meeting via video-conference with state Chief Ministers tomorrow afternoon at 3 PM,” the PMO said in a tweet.
According to a PTI report, the focus of today’s meeting will be on boosting economic activities amid a phased manner. Besides, the politicians will also discuss the strategy to convert red zones into orange and then green.
Lockdown extension or graded exit?
While officials have said that most states are of a view that the next step should be to provide graded relaxations, the Centre is still undecided on lifting the lockdown completely. The recent instances of unruly behaviour by crowds when states opened up liquour shops have sprung up as examples of the challenges that lifting of the lockdown could pose. The government, as a result, is moving cautiously.
The government has listed 130 districts in the country in the red zone, 284 in the orange zone and 319 in the green zone. The classification has been done on the basis of doubling rate of cases, testing capacity and surveillance feedback. Metropolitan cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Pune, Bengaluru and Ahmedabad continue to be designated as red zones due to rising cases of coronavirus.
Sources told PTI that efforts will be made to ensure that all participating CMs get an opportunity to put forth their views during the meet. In the previous meeting held on April 26, only a few CMs were allowed to speak and others were asked to submit their views in writing. Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan had skipped the crucial meeting citing it was more NE states centric.
The Centre and states have been giving gradual relaxation in various fields and sectors to resume economic activities. All the states have favoured a graded exit from the lockdown in a bid to provide relief to people. Earlier on Sunday, Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba held a virtual meet with states chief secretaries to review the situation. The state chief secretaries told him that while prevention is required from coronavirus, economic activities also need to be stepped up in a calibrated manner.
The nationwide lockdown came into effect from March 25 and has been extended thrice since then to contain the spread of coronavirus. According to the Union Health Ministry data, the deadly virus has claimed 2,200 lives and infected over 62,000 people in the country.