Lockdown Likely to be Extended: Leaders After PM’s All-Party Meet
“The situation in this country is akin to a ‘social emergency’,” the prime minister reportedly said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday, 8 April, reportedly indicated at an all-party virtual meet that the lockdown to control the spread of coronavirus will be extended and restrictions will not be lifted after 14 April, given the spurt in COVID-19 infections.
"PM Modi made it clear that the lockdown is not being lifted and that the life pre-corona and post-corona will not be same," Biju Janata Dal leader Pinaki Misra told PTI.
Another leader, who participated in the meeting but did not wish to be named, said the PM said he will also consult chief ministers.
“The situation in this country is akin to a ‘social emergency’. It has necessitated tough decisions and we must continue to remain vigilant. States, district administrations and experts have suggested extension of lockdown to contain spread of the virus,” Modi said during the interaction.
Who Attended The Meet
Apart from Ghulam Nabi Azad Azad and Sharad Pawar, others who attended the virtual meet included Ram Gopal Yadav (Samajwadi Party), Satish Misra (Bahujan Samaj Party), Chirag Paswan (Lok Janshakti Party), TR Baalu (Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam), Sukhbir Singh Badal (Shiromani Akali Dal), Rajiv Ranjan Singh (Janata Dal-United), Pinaki Mishra (Biju Janata Dal) and Sanjay Raut (Shiv Sena).
Giving up its initial reluctance, the Trinamool Congress (TMC) also attended the interaction. TMC leader Sudip Bandyopadhyay was among the participants.
Several States in Favour Of Extending Lockdown
The meet comes amidst indications that the central government may extend the lockdown across the country beyond 14 April after several states have favoured the extension to contain the fast-spreading virus, as the positive cases in the country show no signs of any let-up.
This is the Prime Minister’s first interaction with floor leaders, including those from the Opposition, after the imposition of the nationwide lockdown on 25 March, though he had held interactions with chief ministers of all states including those ruled by non-NDA parties.
The Prime Minister has been interacting with various stakeholders, including doctors, journalists and heads of Indian missions to get a feedback on ways to check the spread of coronavirus.
He recently spoke to various leaders including Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, TMC leader Mamata Banerjee, DMK leader MK Stalin and discussed the COVID-19 situation as well as his government's efforts to contain the spread of the pandemic.
Earlier, he had also spoken to former presidents Pratibha Patil and Pranab Mukherjee, and former prime ministers HD Deve Gowda and Manmohan Singh.
Congress, NCP Suggest Measures
Calling for focussing on boosting revenue of states, NCP Chief Sharad Pawar, whose party shares power with the Shiv Sena and Congress in Maharashtra, demanded release of GST compensation to respective state governments.
“The fight against COVID-19 pandemic will be long- running. This may have a bearing on the world and Indian economy. There is a need to take appropriate steps. In all, the Centre should mull steps to uplift the economy now on,” Pawar told Modi, according to his Facebook post.
According to Adhir Ranjan Chowdhary, the Congress has suggested that farmers might be exempted from the 21-day lockdown for harvesting of rabi crops. The party has also demanded that all taxes on fertilisers be withdrawn, he said.
The Congress leader said the party had suggested that those enrolled under the rural job scheme MGNREGA be given priority while carrying out harvesting of the standing crop.
Senior DMK leader TR Baalu, who represented his party in the video conference, said he sought a relief of Rs 10,000 from the central government, in two equal installments, to be provided to all BPL families, besides Rs 5,000 as subsidy to all LPG users.
(With inputs from PTI)
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