On Covid-19 lockdown, PM Modi to strike a balance between saving lives and livelihood
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will here out all the Chief Ministers on their views and suggestions on whether to lift or extend the lockdown, but his decision will be communicated directly to people closer to April 14.
On April 9 and 10, PM Modi had six hours of presentations made by his principal advisors and empowered groups each to strike the balance between life and livelihood as India does not have the medical infrastructure to handle the community transmission of the coronavirus.
“The easiest call to make is to extend the lockdown, the toughest one is how to lift it so that India does not go into negative growth,” said a senior member of one of the empowered committees.
On Thursday, Prime Minister Modi heard his key advisors led by Principal Secretary PK Mishra, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, Principal Advisor P K Sinha, Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba, CEO NITI Aaayog Amitabh Kant and Additional Secretary (PMO) AK Sharma.
It is understood that while all were in agreement to save Indian lives, they also wanted economic activity to be revived as the ports are jammed with containers and major port cities like Mumbai and Chennai are hit by the pandemic.
“We have to revive activity in ports so that essential containers are locked behind non-essential containers and hence required to be removed. If we start the essential activity, then the patrol constable on the road must learn to distinguish between the essential and non-essential,” said a senior official.
It is understood that one of the proposals to revive economic activity with a graded lift of lockdown to was to demarcate the country into red, yellow and green zones. The Red zones with major corona activity will remain sealed, the yellow with very limited number of cases will be monitored but movement will be allowed and the green zones will be allowed to come back to normal.
“ There are some 400 districts in this country that are not affected by the virus. We may look at opening them to activity and take a graded call on other districts by labelling them in yellow and green zones. One must not forget that the harvesting season begins from April 14 and India is a largely agrarian economy,” said an official.
While PM Modi went into micro details including supply of PPE, HCQ and masks at these meetings, it is understood that he will study the full impact of lockdown over this weekend to decide on the final call. Given his credibility with the masses, PM Modi’s decision will be followed to the last word.