Relaxing Lockdown, Restarting Economy: What PM and CMs Said

India is currently under the third phase of the lockdown to curb the spread of coronavirus. 

Updated12 May 2020, 04:19 AM IST
India
4 min read

In his fifth video conference with chief ministers, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday, 11 May, addressed the current COVID-19 crisis, the state of the migrants, and the economy in the country.

"The lockdown measures needed in the first phase were not needed in the second phase. Measures of the third phase are not needed in fourth," Modi was quoted as saying, as he asked the CMs to share by 15 May, a broad strategy on how they want to deal with the lockdown regime in their states, according to PTI.

He stated that while his government’s efforts were for everyone to stay where they were in the fight against coronavirus, certain decisions had to be changed because it was “human nature to want to go home.”

Apart from the chief ministers, Cabinet ministers, including Home Minister Amit Shah, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman were also present at the meeting.

What Did PM Modi Say?

According to a government statement, Modi told the CMs that they must all plan for a new world reality, saying that the new way of life would be on the principle of 'from an individual to whole of humanity'.

He said that the restarting of select train services was needed to revive economic activity, but added that all routes will not be opened, PTI reported.

The government, on Sunday, took a major step by allowing limited passenger train services from Tuesday, for which online bookings started from 11 May. The special trains (with a total of 30 journeys) will run between Delhi and 14 states.

Modi reportedly told the chief ministers that suggestions given by states for the roadmap on the economy were given due consideration.

In his opening remarks, PM Modi spoke about migrants, stating that he understands their need to go home.

“There is global recognition for India’s success in handling the COVID-19 pandemic and Government of India appreciates the efforts made by all state governments in this regard. Let us stay the course as we move forward together,” he said.

He also stated that the government has a clear indication as to the geographical spread of the pandemic in India, including the worst affected areas, and also that officials have understood operating procedures in a time such as this, right up to the district level.

“Slowly but surely, economic activities have begun to pick up in several parts of the country. In coming days, this process will further gather steam. We must realise that the fight against COVID-19 has to be more focused now.”
Prime Minister Narendra Modi

Meanwhile, all states raised concerns about the crisis for thousands of migrants, stranded because of the lockdown since March-end.

Maha CM Suggests Starting Locals for Essential Workers

Unlike previous meetings, where only a few chief ministers were shortlisted to speak, the fifth meeting also witnessed all CMs sharing their opinions.

Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray said, “Cases are expected to peak in May, it may peak in June or July also. I've read Wuhan is witnessing a second wave of cases, even WHO has warned about this. So, I suggest that any action on lockdown must be taken cautiously.”

He further said, “Mumbai local trains should be started again for the people who are engaged in essential services.”

Maharashtra accounts for most of the novel coronavirus cases in the country, with over 22,000 cases.

Open Agricultural Markets, Says Andhra CM

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Jaganmohan Reddy said, “Migrants who are going back should be allowed to come back after certain period of time,” according to Hindustan Times.

He also said that agricultural markets should open. Stating that normalcy would revive the economy, he also suggested softening terms of loans to help people hit hard by the lockdown.

He further sought relaxation of lockdown measures, with strict adherence to personal hygiene protocols.

Allow Economic Activities in Delhi Barring Containment Zones: Kejriwal

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal told the prime minister, “Economic activities should be allowed in Delhi, except in containment zones.”

There are over 6,900 cases in the national capital, with the death toll over 70.

Not the Time to Do Politics: Mamata

Meanwhile, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee started off saying that all states should be given equal importance and that the states should work together as “Team India.”

However, Banerjee reportedly attacked the Centre, saying it was “using coronavirus as an excuse” to play politics.

“This is not the time to play politics. Nobody ever asks our opinion…  Don't bulldoze the federal structure,” sources quoted her as saying at the meeting.

She lashed out at the Cente saying, “When Government of India has opened almost everything, including the opening of land borders, starting trains and opening airports, then what is the point in continuing with further lockdown?”

Don’t Resume Train, Air Services Till 31 May: TN CM

During the video conference, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami urged the prime minister not to allow regular train and air services till 31 May, as positive cases in Chennai are showing an increasing trend.

He also requested the release of Rs 2,000 crore as Special Grant to enhance available medical equipments in the state.

Similarly, Telangana CM K Chandrasekhar Rao also told the PM to avoid starting rail services.

Kerala CM Asks for Restarting Metro, Bus Services

Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan said that rail, road and air traffic should be allowed but under very strict supervision. He asked for restarting metro services, and permission to run state transport buses in compliance to COVID-19 safety guidelines. He also sought a package for the medium, small and micro enterprises sector.

“States face different challenges and therefore should be given the freedom to make reasonable changes to the guidelines relating to the lockdown,” Vijayan said.

Meanwhile, Punjab CM Captain Amarinder Singh pitched for extension of the lockdown but with a carefully crafted strategy, backed by fiscal and economic empowerment of the states, to save lives and secure livelihood.

Favouring an extension of the lockdown till end of May, Bihar CM Nitish Kumar said it would help the state bring under control the situation that has arisen with natives returning on a large-scale, according to officials quoted by PTI.

Meanwhile, Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar asked the central government to authorise states to take decisions regarding resuming economic activities.

(With inputs from PTI and ANI)

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Published: 11 May 2020, 09:23 AM IST

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