As the nine-day festival of Navratra started today in the shadow of a 21-day lockdown in the country, Prime Minister Narendra Modi suggested that people who have the "capability", "take care" of nine families. The question of taking care came up amid people's anxiety over the availability of essential goods and services. There are concerns that the lockdown poorest people of the country, who depend on daily wages for survival, will be hit the hardest and not have enough to eat over the coming weeks.
"Whoever has the capability, take the pledge to take care of nine families for 21 days. It will be a true 'Navratri'," the Prime Minister said during a question and answer session with the people in his constituency, Varanasi.
The government has already announced huge subsidies on rice and wheat available under the Public Distribution System. Union Minister Prakash Javadekar said, "80 crore people will get wheat at Rs 2 a kg and rice at Rs 3 kg for the next three months".
The government is yet to clarify how these supplies would reach the people who need it the most. A section of people in the country are still unregistered for Public Distribution .
Mr Javadekar said in villages, people help each other. "The question arises in cities... citizens need to help those who are poor. States are also coming out with packages," he said.
The Delhi government has already made arrangements for food at shelters for the homeless. Last week, Mr Kejriwal said he would provide "free ration" and double pensions for 72 lakh people in the national capital whose jobs may have been affected by the virus.
The Prime Minister also appealed to the people to spare a thought for animals in this deep crisis.
"Due to the lockdown, animals are also facing trouble. I appeal to people to take care of the animals around them," he said.