PM Modi Asks States For Blueprint On Next Phase Of Lockdown: 10 Points

Coronavirus India Lockdown: All states have raised concerns about the crisis for thousands of migrants, stranded because of the lockdown since March-end.

Lockdown exit plan: This is 5th meeting between PM and chief ministers since lockdown began.(File)

Highlights

  • The discussions will revolve around a plan for life after May 17
  • The meet, set to start at 3 pm, will go on "till proceedings continue"
  • The crisis for thousands of migrants will also be a key agenda
New Delhi: A central economic package to offset the revenue losses during the lockdown to combat coronavirus and autonomy in colour-coding the virus-hit districts were the two key demands of the states at their 6-hour videoconference with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday. PM Modi has assured them that the Centre is looking into ways to "open up the economy ", sources said. At the meeting -- held to focus on life after May 17, when the nationwide lockdown is scheduled to end -- PM Modi said the government "decided to invite all Chief Ministers to speak" before a "considered view" is taken on the matter. Several states, including Punjab and Assam, have asked for an extension of the lockdown. Others, like Tamil Nadu and Telangana, asked that rail and air traffic not be started yet. Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, engaged in a face-off with the Centre, accused it of discrimination and playing politics.

Here is your ten-point cheat sheet on this big story:

  1. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, pointing out that out that it will take some time to get a vaccine, said: "I request you all to share with me by 15th May, a broad strategy on how each one of you would want to deal with the lockdown regime in your particular states. I want states to make a blueprint on how to deal with various nuances during and after the gradual easing of the lockdown."

  2. "We have a twofold challenge – to reduce the transmission rate of the disease, and to increase public activity adhering to all the guidelines," the Prime Minister said. "We now have reasonably clear indication as to the geographical spread of the pandemic... The effort should be to stop the spread of the COVID-19 to rural areas," he added.

  3. All states raised concerns about the migrant labourers stranded because of the lockdown since March-end. Even after special trains started to take them home, the desperation has not ended for many. PM Modi said while his government's efforts were for everyone to stay where they are, certain decisions had to be changed because it was "human nature" to want to go home.

  4. Five states -- including Punjab and Assam -- have asked for an extension of the lockdown. Punjab's Amarinder Singh said, "My position is very strong. We must have lockdown. We must have strong lockdown. I will ensure a curfew". In case of a graded exit from the lockdown based on red, orange and green zones, state administrations should be allowed to decide where restrictions can be eased, he said.

  5. Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said any decision on the lockdown must be taken "cautiously", pointing to the recurrence of the virus in China's Wuhan, and predictions that in India it may peak in May, June or July. Maharashtra has the highest number of cases in the country and there is apprehension that resumption of economic activities could pose new risks.

  6. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who has repeatedly drawn attention to the loss of revenue for the city-state, said economic activities should resume in the capital, except in coronavirus containment zones which are in strict lockdown to check the spread of the virus.

  7. Bengal's Mamata Banerjee, one of the first Chief Ministers to speak, reportedly attacked the centre saying it was "using coronavirus as an excuse" to play politics. "This is not the time to do politics, don't bulldoze the federal structure," the Bengal Chief Minister said.

  8. Tamil Nadu Chief Minister E Palanisami and Andhra Pradesh's Jagan Mohan Reddy asked PM Modi not to resume flights and trains this month. Tamil Nadu has the country's fourth highest coronavirus cases. With Telangana's numbers yet to touch 1,200, Mr Reddy suggested that it was important to reopen agricultural markets, public transport, markets and shopping malls with some restrictions to revive the economy.

  9. Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan recommended that rail, road and air traffic be allowed with restrictions and metro travel be allowed in the least affected parts of the state. "The state government should be given adequate flexibility to allow public transport subject to virus protocols," Mr Vijayan said.

  10. Though the number of cases showed the biggest jump on Monday, India also has a significantly improved recovery rate of 31 per cent. This morning, the number of coronavirus patients is 67,152 with 4,213 new cases in the last 24 hours.