The nationwide COVID-19 lockdown is likely to be extended for a third time beyond May 17 but more restrictions and precincts may be eased in arena’s that are not severely and sternly affected ,or impacted .
On 11 of May, PM NarendraModi had a meeting with all the chief ministers’ of the states, in his fifth video conferencing seemed optimistic about the economic activities gaining momentum over the next couple of days. He also urged the states to focus on reducing the spread of coronavirus and ensuring that all precautions were taken by people, including social distancing.
As India reaches the final step of the 54-day national pandemic-induced shutdown, Prime Minister NarendraModi met on Monday with the chief ministers of the states to explore the path forward. This was the fifth such meeting between PM Modi and the chief ministers of state after the outbreak.
“There is global recognition and acknowledgment for India’s progress in grappling with the pandemic, and the Government of India appreciates the efforts made by all governments in this regard. Let’s keep the path as we step ahead together,” he said today in his fifth video conference with chief ministers of state.”
Whilst also chief ministers concentrated on region-specific issues, they appeared to retain cohesion when the national lockdown became timely and phased out. States have expressed fears about the situation for thousands of migrants, who have been stranded since March-end owing to the lockdown.
On Monday, Prime Minister NarendraModi chaired a fresh round of consultations with chief ministers on ways to reinforce the Covid-19 containment strategy and boost economic activity in a calibrated manner as the 54-day nationwide lockdown is nearing completion.
In the course of discussion PM also the addressed during the Fifth virtual conference between him and all the chief ministers in regards to the outbreak of pandemic across the country and globally, leading to the impact on the large-magnitude of movement by the migrant workers from urban to rural India and the problems their return to home states may cause in restarting the economy.
The interaction was attended by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Home Minister Amit Shah, Finance Minister NirmalaSitharaman and Health Minister Harsh Vardhan among others.
The PM has called for a balance strategy that needs to be planned.
Prime MinisterModi implied and suggested on Monday that the spotlight must be as a focus in the battle against pandemic outbreak, would be on reducing the transmission rate and increase public activity while complying and adhering to the given guidelines.
“ India would need to devise or formulate and execute a “balanced strategy” to address or tackle with the coronavirus pandemic , and the biggest challenge for the country will be to ensure that the outbreak does not spread to village ,” Prime Minister NarendraModi told chief Ministers during a video conference on Monday’’.
On interaction and discourse with the chief Ministers via video conference, he said that the recommendations given by them for a roadmap to revive and boost the economy were being given due consideration.
According to an official statement, Modi also stated that the resumption of train service was needed to boost and revive up the economic activities and participation. But, he made it accurately clear that services on all the routes will not be resumed and that here will be just a limited number of trains would ply.
Appreciating the role played by the states in the fight against the pandemic, PM Modi said the entire world is of the view that India has been able to successfully protect itself from the pandemic, according to official sources.
The prime minister conveyed to the chief ministers that a “balanced strategy will have to be adopted for the road ahead, and what path and the direction the country” should adopt could be determined on the basis of the suggestions by the states, sources said.
The “problems” have increased wherever the social distancing norms were not followed or there has been laxity in implementation of the lockdown guidelines, Modi told the chief ministers.
Almost all States said a financial package to aid embattled State finances should be announced, Goods and Services Tax (GST) compensation due to States be paid and packages for economic revival also be announced soon. Several States including Andhra Pradesh said the limits for deficit under the Fiscal Responsibility Act are raised. Punjab asked for an early announcement for higher Minimum Support Price (MSP) for paddy and a bonus for not burning the paddy stubble.
As plans are expected to stream in before May 17 from States, the picture of just how India may exit the lockdown is yet to emerge.
These different discussions happened with the other chief ministers of the different states:
- In Karnataka, the CM of Karnataka B.S. Yediyurappa recommended and proposed that the district wise classification or division of red, orange, and green zones removed or be do away with it. He said only containment zones should be identified and solely cordoned off and a perimeter of 50-100 metres around known as cluster may be proclaimed a containment zones. He proposed that all the commercial activities including public transport should be permissible in non-containment zones. He also said that domestic and international flights should not be allowed or be put at halt for any kind of travel until the end of May, he also beseeched and requested to the centre to carry on with at least minimum number of tests per million to be carried in each state.
- The Delhi CM suggested that it is time for indicating that, he was in favour of some openings up in the economy. , as economy activity should be permissible and allowed to recommence everywhere in the national capital except containment zones.
- The Assam government has asked that the lockdown must be implemented and extended for another two more weeks and that inter-state movement should be put at halt.
- The CM of Maharashtra Uddhav Thackeray stated that centre should devise and formulate a lockdown plan or policy cautiously and meticulously, carefully as cases are expected to rise at peak in June-July “On the on-going lockdown, he asked Prime minister to “to present or demonstrate “specific and concrete direction”. Thackeray said that deployment of the central force will give rest and provide relief to the police personnel in Maharashtra who are drained and depleted cos of COVID-19 duties, the Maharashtra CM also beseeched and urged to PM Modi to start or operate the local trains in Mumbai for essential services staff working in the city.
- In Orissa – On Monday, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik urged that panchayats be interested in fighting Covid-19.Advocating a greater role for local bodies in the battle against the coronavirus, the chief minister said the Union government may modify existing schemes to incentivise and actively involve Panchayati Raj institutions in Covid-19 management.Emphasizing the need to adopt a “decentralized mechanism” to reinforce the process of containing coronavirus spread, the Odisha chief minister said that a smaller area should be classified as a red, orange or green zone instead of a whole district based on the severity of the disease. He also said that to revive and boost the economy, the centre may come up with a standard operating procedure (SOP), Patnaik said.
- In Chhattisgarh, Chief Minister BhupeshBaghel Based on the extent of the coronavirus situation in places under their control, the Center would require state governments to agree on red, green, orange zones. Baghel said the governments of the state should be empowered to decide which economic activities should be undertaken in the midst of the coronavirus lockdown. He also received Chhattisgarh’s support from Rs 30,000-crore. The inclusion of all the health workers, the chief minister requested and urged to PM, for including police department employees and officials, municipal corporations, district administration, and other departments under the PM GaribKalyan Package.He also urged to increase 100 days of employment fixed under MGNREGA to 200 days.
- In West Bengal, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee spoke early in the meeting and raised very sharp points on being politically victimised over COVID-19 preparedness in her States;she also stressed the “contradictions” in the Centre’s approach to addressing the outbreak.“On one hand the Centre wants the lockdown to be enforced strictly, and on the other, it is resuming train services and reopening land borders,” she said.”“”We want to fight the pandemic with the central government, but Bengal has been targeted politically unfairly. Instead of shifting the burden on the states, the Centre can come up with a precise strategy on the way forward,” she said to the conference.”
- On the other hand, in Punjab CaptianAmarinderSingh CM of Punjab Pitched to extend the coronavirus lockdown but with a carefully crafted exit strategy backed by states’ economic empowerment to save lives and secures living.According to a release, he said the states should be given greater flexibility in micro-planning.
The chief minister said micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) should be allowed to function in red zones with proper safeguards.Amarinder has demanded immediate financial aid from states to fulfil at least 33% of their pledged obligations, along with three-month tax grants to close the income deficit and finance expenditure on coronavirus prevention.He reiterated the demand for an urgent release of Rs 4,365.37 crore of Punjab’s GST arrears.
- In Telegana, the CM K Chandrasekhar Rao Urged PM Modi not to resume passenger train services at this juncture, saying that allowing them would result in people moving and would pose problems testing them for Covid-19 and quarantining.Rao also advocated encouraging foreign workers to return to their native places, in addition to rescheduling state loans and improving fiscal discipline and control of the economy.
- In Bihar,Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Monday favoured extending the COVID 19-induced lockdown till the end of May, underscoring that it would help the state bring under control the situation that has arisen with natives returning on a large scale.
- Citing the Covid-19 cases in Tamil Nadu on Monday, Chief Minister K Palaniswami came out against resumption of passenger trains and air services in the state until May 31 and sought more PCR kits from the Centre to speed up on the on-going aggressive monitoring.He also referred to the requests he had made to the state during the previous video conference experiences such as Rs 2,000 crore special grant to boost the medical equipment accessible to him.
Palaniswami said the state also sought nod to require additional borrowing of 33 percent beyond the amount approved for 2019-20 for 2020-21 and release of pending GST compensation.
- In Andhra Pradesh, CM Jagan Mohan Reddy Earliest called for normalcy. He said the stigma connected with coronavirus patients must be combated and once this misconception is battled we cannot go further in this battle against coronavirus, He not only required a relaxing of regulations but also requested the inter-state transport service be reinstated. He said, however, that Andhra Pradesh requires Rs 16,000 crore to battle Covid-19 immediately.
- In Rajasthan, CM Ashok GhelotSuggested the implementation of an employment guarantee scheme for urban areas along the MGNREGA row. Gehlot said the lockdown had a severe impacts on daily wagers as a consequence of which the Center would create a job generation scheme for the urban poor.He said states should be granted powers to decide zones for coronavirus. The CM also requested a financial package for the factories and said the borrowing cap for the states should be increased.
- With respect to the Uttar Pradesh, Yogi Adityanath“ Migrant workers coming to the state in huge numbers were said to be a “daunting task” for the government, but it was effectively addressing the issue by implementing a scheme of initiatives for them.” Commenting on the labour reforms adopted by the northern state, Adityanath said, “It was necessary to implement labour reforms. These will be implemented only where new units will be set up. Besides, it will also be applicable in those old units where new labourers are being employed.”
He lauded the State governments for their work in containing the pandemic till now, and said it was to be a united effort.
IN MY OPINION
It’s a good step in terms of addressing every issue, and holding up the meetings with the CM’s of all other states would help in establishing and formulating better strategy to address these issues, and combat the spread of Pandemic.
In terms of all other states, they all are addressing in meticulously manner to maintain the peak of cases and restrictions imposed along with the lockdown
Article Written By-Sakshi Mehta