COVID-19 pandemic

It’s akin to ‘social emergency,’ says Modi

PM meets floor leaders, indicates lifting all curbs not favoured

It’s akin to ‘social emergency,’ says Modi

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 8

In the midst of battling the expanding Covid-19 pandemic with lockdown as a measure, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday likened the situation to “social emergency” requiring tough decisions and indicating that easing of restrictions was not an easy option.

Modi hinted it won’t be the same

The PM made it clear that lockdown was not being lifted and that life pre-corona and post-corona would not be the same.—Pinaki Misra, Biju Janata Dal

Interacting with leaders of parliamentary parties here, he said the priority of the government was to save each and every life. Stating that the pandemic forced the government to take strict measures and expect more when the situation demands, sources privy to the discussion said there was enough indication from the PM that removing all restrictions at the end of the 21-day lockdown period was not favoured. The government is mulling all options, including a partial lockdown or blanket extension. Much would depend on the data being collected with April 10 as the cutoff. The PM will hold another round of interaction with the chief ministers on Sunday before taking a final call.

80% for extending lockdown

80% leaders from various parties who interacted with the PM via video-conferencing favoured extending the lockdown. — Ghulam Nabi Azad, Congress

Official sources said the PM told the leaders: “It’s an epoch-changing event in mankind’s history and we must evolve to counter its impact.” The leaders appreciated the timely measures. They talked about boosting the health and morale of healthcare workers, ramping up testing facilities, the need to assist smaller states/UTs and tackling hunger and malnutrition.

Suggestions were made on extending the lockdown and on a phased exit. Some members raised the issue of suspension of MPLADS fund, urging the government to reconsider it. Shiv Sena’s Sanjay Rout said if required the government could further deduct up to 15 per cent of salary. The Left sought reinstatement of MPLADS while also raising more allocation to states, taking care of daily and low-wage earners and NRIs returning to India following job loss.

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