"People's Will," PM Tells Chief Ministers On Easing Lockdown Curbs
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in a virtual meet with Chief Ministers today, said while his government's efforts were for everyone to stay where they were in the fight against coronavirus, certain decisions had to be changed because it was "human nature" to want to go home. His fifth such consultation is to discuss a plan for life after May 17, when the nationwide lockdown is due to end after its second extension. Today's meeting, which started at 3 pm, will go on "till proceedings continue", say officials. Yesterday, the government took a major step by allowing limited passenger train services from Tuesday, for which online bookings started today.
Here is your ten-point cheat sheet on this big story:
1. 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.
2. One of the many firsts in today's meeting is that all Chief Ministers get to speak. Union Territories have been asked to give their views in writing.
3. All states have raised concerns about the crisis for thousands of migrants, stranded because of the lockdown since March-end.
4. Migrants left jobless and without food or shelter walking home thousands of kilometres away has been one of the most compelling sights during the shutdown.
5. Even after special trains started running from states to take migrants, students and others home, the desperation has not ended for many.
6. An economic package to help migrants, small and medium industries and to help revive consumption is also on the government's to-do list.
7. The chief ministers are expected to push for stepping up economic activities in a calibrated manner, as the Centre weighs a graded exit from the 54-day lockdown..
8. States have demanded that in case of a graded exit from the lockdown based on red, orange and green zones, the state administration be allowed to decide where restrictions can be eased.
9. Amid a spike in COVID-19 cases in states like Maharashtra, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu, exiting the lockdown will be a tough call.
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.