Use Coronavirus crisis to push reforms: PM Modi tells CMs

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Published: April 28, 2020 5:45:33 AM

Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat said businesses should start operations in a phased manner, after taking precautionary measures.

In his fourth interaction with chief ministers via video conference since March 20, Modi called for using the crisis to push for various reforms.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday asserted that the nation-wide lockdown since March 25 has saved thousands of lives and underlined the need to give due attention to the economy as well, in an indication that the Centre may relax guidelines for the resumption of economic activities, at least in the so-called green zones, after May 3.

In his fourth interaction with chief ministers via video conference since March 20, Modi called for using the crisis to push for various reforms. Sources said the Prime Minister called on the states to firm up standard operating procedures (SOPs) for restarting manufacturing in a “graded” manner in green zones. Industry bodies had blamed a lack of SOPs in various states for their inability to resume manufacturing after it was allowed in risk-free areas from April 20.

However, since most of the key industrial belts across important states like Maharashtra, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and Telangana are still considered red zones, where business activities won’t be allowed even if the lockdown is lifted after May 3, economic output will continue to falter. In nominal terms, Maharashtra makes up for roughly 14% of the country’s GDP, while Gujarat accounts for almost 8%, Tamil Nadu 9% and Telangana under 5%.

Some of the states like Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh on Monday pitched for re-starting manufacturing and trade activities in a phased manner. However, some north-eastern states have said they will extend the lockdown beyond May 3.

Modi highlighted the importance for states to enforce guidelines strictly in the hotspots (red zone areas) and said states must strive to convert the red zones into orange and thereafter to green zones through containment measures. “The Prime Minister said that we have to give importance to the economy as well as continue the fight against Covid-19. He emphasised on the importance of usage of technology as much as possible and also to utilise time to embrace reform measures,” the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement after the meeting.

Uttarakhand chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat said businesses should start operations in a phased manner, after taking precautionary measures. He added that development work under certain schemes, including MGNREGS, is taking place in his states.

Himachal Pradesh chief minister Jai Ram Thakur said his state was in a position to resume economic activities. Puducherry chief minister V Narayanasamy has urged the Centre to boost the supplies of personal protective equipment (PPEs) and other medical equipment. He also sought financial aid and grants to fight the pandemic and address economic woes. Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik said the national lockdown should continue but important activities need to permitted. He asked the Centre to review measures to kick-start the economy.

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