With the deadline for lockdown4 speedily approaching, the Prime Minister's Office is busy reviewing the entire 60-day lockdown period. The Home Ministry is crunching data that would help decide the strategy from June 1. Going by the demands of the states and the condition of economy, the centre had given considerable relaxations the last time it announced a two-week extension of the lockdown earlier this month. The final decision had been left to the states. In the days that followed, it also reopened the domestic aviation sector, starting flights to and from several select cities.
The last time, the centre had based its decisions on a detailed wishlist from the states following Prime Minister Narendra Modi's virtual meet with Chief Ministers, and an assessment of the ground situation from the Home Ministry.
This time, it is also concerned about the numbers which have almost doubled in the last 12 days, both in terms of COVID positive cases and quarantine.
"Ultimately, it would be a political call on whether to continue with the National Disaster Management Act or allow the states have a final call as to how they want to proceed from June 1," an official in the Home Ministry said. The imposition of the National Disaster Management Act has empowered the centre to take all the decisions regarding health, which is a state subject.
The government has been concerned about criticism coming its way from the opposition parties regarding its strategy to counter coronavirus. Even Chief Ministers have been extremely vocal against the government's policies. Together, it has pushed the centre to change its stance on many occasions over the last 64 days.
Data being processed by government that was accessed by NDTV reveals that till May 26, the country had as many as 1,47,284 coronavirus cases. The big concern, though, are the 22,81,250 people who are in quarantine facilities in different states and Union Territories.
On May 14, there were 77,152 COVID-19 positive cases and 11,95,645 people were in quarantine. The officials attribute the upward to more tests as well as the relaxations being given by centre.
"Movement of migrant labour, international evacuations and starting of domestic flights have added to the numbers," an official said. States which have seen lot of inter-district movement and movement of trains are the ones where graph shows a steep rise, he said.
Maharashtra, which consistently has the maximum number of cases, currently has more than 6.02 lakh people in quarantine. Twelve days ago, the number was over 2.9 lakh.
Gujarat now has 4.42 lakh people in quarantine, up from 2 lakh 12 days ago. Uttar Pradesh has placed 3.6 lakh people in quarantine. On May 14, the figure was 2.3 lakh.
States that had a large number of migrants returning have also shown a spike in the coronavirus as well as the quarantine figures.
The numbers have shot up in Bihar, which has had a large influx of migrants. The state now has 2.1 lakh people in quarantine, up from 1.1 lakh 12 days ago.
Chhattisgarh - another state where a large number of migrants returned -- now has 1.8 lakh in quarantine, compared to close to 43,000 on May 14.
Records from Odisha show 1.1 lakh people in quarantine. The corresponding figure was 72,765 on May 14.
The rise in Jharkhand has also been dramatic - from a little over 15,000 twelve days ago, the number of people in quarantine is now more than 88,000.
"These are all those states where lot of inter district movement and migrant movement was recorded," an official confirmed. Data from the Home Ministry shows that as many as 35 lakh migrants have made their way home on special trains and 40 lakh by buses.