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Modi asks States to prepare for ramping up economic activity

Key assessment:Prime Minister Narendra Modi interacting with the Chief Ministers in New Delhi on Monday.PTI

Key assessment:Prime Minister Narendra Modi interacting with the Chief Ministers in New Delhi on Monday.PTI  

In interaction with Chief Ministers, PM says country must plan for a new reality

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said at a video conference with Chief Ministers that the lockdown would continue in some form or the other even after May 17, but that the State governments should send in their plans for ramping up economic activity in green zones between May 15 and 17 for consideration by the Centre.

In a marathon meeting that lasted (with a half-an -hour break in between) for nearly six hours, and saw most Chief Ministers speak their mind, Mr. Modi said the imperative was to protect rural areas from the COVID-19 pandemic as these areas were largely untouched at the moment.

According to one Chief Minister who spoke to The Hindu , Mr. Modi indicated that a full exit from the lockdown was not possible in the current circumstances, especially since five Chief Ministers, including those of West Bengal, Telangana and Bihar, asked for an extension.

He lauded the State governments for their work in containing the pandemic till now, and said it was to be a united effort.

Migrant labour

He also said the movement of migrant labour to their native States should be expedited within the next 10 days. “This may lead to some problems in terms of States that employ them and even in their native States where there may be a spike in cases,” Mr. Modi is reported to have said. All States, however, should now think in terms of economic revival as well, he emphasised.

He said, “I am of the firm view that the measures needed in the first phase of lockdown were not needed during the second phase and similarly the measures needed in the third phase are not needed in the fourth.”

“And therefore, we can now further focus our strategy in this battle against coronavirus, as should be the case. We have a twofold challenge — to reduce the transmission rate of the disease, and to increase public activity gradually, while adhering to all the guidelines, and we will have to work towards achieving both these objectives,” Mr. Modi said.

He said the new way of life would be on the principle of “ Jan Se lekar Jag Tak ,” from an individual to the whole of humanity. He said we must all plan for the new reality.

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