New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Saturday that the criticality of coming 3-4 weeks for determining the impact of the steps taken till now to contain the virus, adding that teamwork is the key to facing the challenge. Interacting with chief ministers of the country via video conferencing, Modi said the combined effort of the Centre and the States “has definitely helped reduce the impact of COVID-19”. However, he cautioned that “since the situation is rapidly evolving, constant vigilance is paramount”.
He said the motto of the government had now changed from the earlier ‘jaan hai to jahaan hai’ to ‘jaan bhi jahaan bhi’.
About the Exit Plan from the present Lockdown, Modi said that there seemed to be a consensus amongst the states on extension of Lockdown by another two weeks. The Chief Ministers suggested that Lockdown should be extended by two weeks. They also sought financial and fiscal assistance from the Contre to boost their resources in this fight against the pandemic.
The Prime Minister categorically assured that India had adequate supplies of essential medicines and said that measures were being taken to ensure availability of protective gear and critical equipment for all front-line workers. He also spoke about popularizing the Aarogya Setu app to ensure downloads in greater numbers. He referred to how South Korea and Singapore got success in contact tracing. Based on those experiences, he said, India had made its own effort through the app which would be an essential tool in India’s fight against the pandemic. He also referred to the possibility of the app being an e-pass which could subsequently facilitate travel from one place to another.
Modi also gave a stern message against black marketing and hoarding. He expressed distress at the instances of attacks on the doctors and medical staff, and at incidents of misbehavior with students from North-East and Kashmir. He said that such cases needed to be dealt with firmly. He also spoke about the need to curb Lockdown violations and ensure that social distancing was followed. He also laid emphasis on strengthening healthcare infrastructure and reaching out to patients through tele-medicine.
Talking about the economic challenges, Prime Minister said that the crisis was an opportunity to become self-reliant and turn the nation into an economic powerhouse.
Suggesting specific measures for agriculture and allied sector including modification of APMC laws to facilitate sale of farm produce, Modi suggested that direct marketing for farm produce could be incentivised to prevent crowding in mandis, for which model APMC laws should be reformed swiftly. “Such steps will help farmers sell products at their doorstep,” he said.
This was the third such interaction of the Prime Minister with the Chief Ministers, the earlier ones had been held on April 2 and March 20. The Chief Ministers provided feedback about the COVID positive cases in their respective states, steps taken by them to maintain social distancing, ramp up healthcare infrastructure, mitigate difficulties of migrants and maintain supply of essentials.
The interaction was also attended by Union Home Minister, Defence Minister, Health Minister, Principal Secretary, Cabinet Secretary and other senior officials of Government of India.