New Delhi, May 12: Emphasising on continuing with measures to prevent the spread of Coronavirus infection, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said that all the states and UTs should plan for the new reality. Holding a meeting with chief ministers of various states, through video conferencing, to discuss the road ahead in India’s fight against COVID-19, the PM and the Chief ministers discussed the roadmap for the Economy in the coming days. He said the suggestions made by the States for a roadmap on economy have been given due consideration.
The PM said that the effort now should be to stop the spread of COVID-19 in rural areas. Stressing on the need for the states and UTs to plan for the new post-Corona reality, the PM said, ''We must understand that the World has fundamentally changed post-COVID-19. Now the World will be Pre-Corona, Post-Corona just like the case of the World Wars. And this would entail significant changes in how we function.'' He said the new way of life would be on the principle of ''Jan Se lekar Jag Tak'', from an individual to the whole of humanity.
"We must all plan for the new reality,'' the Prime Minister said. He requested all the Chief Ministers for specific feedback on lockdown. ''I request you all to share with me by May 15, a broad strategy on how you 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,'' he said. ''Even as we look at the gradual withdrawal of the lockdown, we should constantly remember that till we do not find a vaccine or a solution, the biggest weapon with us to the fight the virus is social distancing,'' he said.
Stressing on the need to maintain Social Distancing, the Prime Minister reaffirmed the importance of 'Do Gaz Ki doori' and added that suggestion of night curfew raised by many CMs would surely reaffirm the feeling of caution among people. In his opening remarks, the Prime Minister said, ''We now have a reasonably clear indication as to the geographical spread of the pandemic in India, including the worst affected areas. Moreover, over the past few weeks, officials have understood operating procedures in a time such as this, right up to the District level.'' He said that this understanding of the spread of COVID-19 will help the country in having a focused fight against it. ''And therefore, we can now further focus our strategy in this battle against coronavirus, as should be the case. We have a two-fold challenge – to reduce the transmission rate of the disease, and to increase public activity gradually while adhering to all the guidelines, and we will have to work towards achieving both these objectives,'' he said.
The Prime Minister further said now the effort should be to stop the spread of the COVID-19 to rural areas. The Chief Ministers appreciated the leadership of the Prime Minister in the country’s fight against COVID-19 and also highlighted the need to strengthen the medical and health infrastructure in the country. Several of them pointed out that with the return of migrants, there is a need to concentrate on strict implementation of the social distancing guidelines, usage of masks and sanitisation in order to curb the spread through fresh infection, especially in rural areas. The compulsory quarantining of the stranded Indians returning from abroad was also highlighted. The Chief Ministers in their suggestions on the economy have sought support to MSMEs, infrastructure projects like power, easing of interest rates on loans and assured market access to the agricultural produce. The Prime Minister thanked the Chief Ministers for their proactive role in the country’s fight against the COVID-19 and their valuable suggestions emanating out of their grassroots level experience.
''We will need an all-encompassing approach to deal with various challenges that will arise before us. With the onset of Monsoon, there will be a proliferation of many non-COVID-19 diseases, for which we must prepare and strengthen our medical and health systems,'' the Prime Minister said. He asked the policymakers to also keep in mind how to embrace new models of teaching and learning in the education sector. Referring to Tourism, the Prime Minister said he saw the potential for domestic tourism but ''we need to think of the contours of the same''. He said, ''I am of the firm view that the measures needed in the first phase of lockdown were not needed during the 2nd phase and similarly, the measures needed in the 3rd Phase are not needed in the fourth.''
Referring to the resumption of train services, the Prime Minister said, this is needed to rev up the economic activity, but said that all the routes will not be resumed. The Prime Minister said only a limited number of trains would ply. The Prime Minister said he continues to feel optimistic when not even a single state sounded despondent and that this collective determination will make India win in its fight against COVID-19. He said that the Post-COVID era also brings opportunities that India must leverage. According to the sources, in the meeting, Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot urged the Union Government to allow the interstate supply chain to function properly.
The State has so far registered 3,814 coronavirus cases. In the meeting, Tamil Nadu CM Palaniswami mentioned about the spike in the number of COVID-19 cases in the State. The State CM has suggested the Prime Minister not to allow regular air services till May 31. The State CM also said that train services should not be allowed until May 31. Andhra Pradesh CM Jaganmohan Reddy said, "We need to prepare people to live with COVID19 till vaccine is ready."
The Sources further said that West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee said that the Union Government should not play politics when the pandemic has affected the country. Meanwhile, Gujarat wants lockdown to be enforced only in the containment zones. Chhattisgarh CM Bhupesh Bhagel has sought permission from the Union Government to allow states to decide about red, orange and green zones. Along with the PM, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Home Minister Amit Shah, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Health Minister Harsh Vardhan was also present in the meeting. The meeting is the fifth since the lockdown to stop the spread of the coronavirus started on March 25. The Centre has said that the lockdown will be lifted in a phased manner in areas other than the areas that are in containment zones. The MHA has allowed operations in many areas like manufacturing in a bid to restart economic activity, which has come to a standstill during the lockdown. Over the last few weeks, many states have eased restrictions in Green and Orange Zones, allowing the opening of areas like agriculture, construction activity and MGNREGA. (UNI)