This Article is From May 05, 2020

Amid Criticism Over Migrant Crisis, Centre Preps Massive Action Plan

Coronavirus: All departments and ministries have also been asked to prepare a list of the work they did since March 24, when the lockdown was declared

Coronavirus: Migrants wait to catch a special train amid the extended COVID-19 lockdown

New Delhi:

The centre is going on a massive policy initiative to tackle the coronavirus outbreak and the lifting of the lockdown. A huge internal exercise is underway to prepare an action plan for the next two months. Every ministry has been asked to prepare a roadmap and give a presentation, which Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to personally see, sources told NDTV.

All departments and ministries have also been asked to prepare a list of the work they did since March 24, when the lockdown was declared, sources told NDTV. They also have to prepare an action plan for the coming two months.

The idea is to smooth out the procedural bumps in the backdrop of criticism over the implementation of the lockdown. "In a lockdown era, the government believes that it was forced into decisions in which it did not have the luxury of time for intense deliberation," a source said.

"The government also feels that many decisions taken may not have been successfully implemented. A detailed presentation of steps taken and the steps that will be taken in the future will give the government a fair assessment," a source said.

As the lockdown started in March, the government had announced a Rs 1.70 lakh crore package for the poorest of the poor. But a detailed financial package that would revive the economy and the industries hit by the coronavirus is still awaited. The Prime Minister had created a task force - headed by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman - to evaluate the effect of the coronavirus on the economy.

The presentation on the action plan for the future is meant to give the government a headstart at a point when the lockdown set it back in terms of policy and planning.

The move also comes amid a huge political controversy over the migrants issue.

Amid continuing opposition claims of the government failing to prepare for the outbreak as the lockdown slowed out the spread of the highly infectious virus, the question of who will foot the bill for the homecoming of migrants spun out of control.

As the states and the centre fought over the issue, the Congress declared that it would pay the migrants' train fare, pushing the centre to claim that the Railway Ministry was expected to pay 85 per cent of the fare and the rest was to come from the states.