- It will be PM's fourth interaction with states amid lockdown
- Video-conference expected to review lockdown extension
- East and north-east states' Chief Ministers to speak with PM
At least nine Chief Ministers are expected to speak during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's video-conference with Chief Ministers today. This is the third time the Prime Minister is interacting with the states since the countrywide lockdown started on March 25.
The video-conference - which begins at 10 am - is expected to review the extension of the lockdown. A clear exit plan and how it should be implemented in a phased manner will also be discussed.
The Chief Ministers are also likely to discuss the responses to the partial relaxations granted on April 20 to certain sectors, the situation regarding test kits and the protection of doctors.
The states are also expected to demand a financial package from the centre, and an amendment to the FRBM (Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management) Act. The latter is expected to list the cap on fiscal deficit, which is likely to increase as vast sums of money will be needed for relief and stimulus for the global pandemic.
Almost all the large states have put forward their views in the earlier meetings.
This time, it is the turn of the Chief Ministers from Bihar, Odisha, Gujarat, Haryana, Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh and the Union Territory of Puducherry. From the northeast, the Chief Ministers of Meghalaya and Mizoram will speak.
Sources said the centre wishes to give all states - large or small - a chance to speak. But unlike last time, when extension of the lockdown was discussed, they have not been required to provide their demands in writing.
In the first meeting on March 20, eight states had put forward their views on containment of the virus, upgrade of medical infrastructure and training local health resources.
In the second meet on April 2, around eight states had discussed an exit strategy once the lockdown ends.
In the third meeting on April 11, at least 13 Chief Ministers had asked for an extension of the lockdown.
Bihar and Odisha are among the states which have a low rate of transmission. Meghalaya has 11 active cases of coronavirus, Mizoram has one.