Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said reduction of transmission rate of the novel coronavirus and gradual increase in public activities while adhering to all guidelines are the “twofold” challenges and now the Centre and states will have to work towards achieving the twin objectives.
Addressing chief ministers via a video conference, the prime minister also said he is of the “firm view that the measures needed in the first phase of lockdown were not needed during the second phase and similarly the measures needed in the third phase are not needed in the fourth,” according to an official statement.
The prime minister reaffirmed the importance of ‘do gaz doori’ (a distance of two yards) and added that suggestion of “night curfew” raised by many chief ministers would surely reaffirm the feeling of caution among people.
Referring to the resumption of train services, PM Modi said it was needed to rev up the economic activity. But, he made it clear that services on all routes will not be resumed and that only a limited number of trains would ply.
Nearly two months after it suspended operations of passenger trains over the coronavirus crisis, the railways will resume services with 15 pairs of trains on select routes from Tuesday.
Referring to the twin objectives, he said “We can now focus our strategy in this battle against coronavirus, as should be the case. We have a twofold challenge – to reduce the transmission rate of the disease, and to increase public activity gradually, while adhering to all the guidelines. We will have to work towards achieving both these objectives.”
As thousands of migrant workers reach their native states on board special trains, Modi also emphasised on the need to stop the spread of COVID-19 to rural areas.
Rendered jobless due to lockdown, scores of migrant workers have started returning to their home states.
About the concerns raised by several chief ministers during the lockdown period, PM Modi said suggestions made by the states for a “roadmap on economy” have been given “due consideration”.
The prime minister asked the chief ministers to share by May 15 a broad strategy on how they want to deal with lockdown regime in their states.
“I request you all to share with me by May 15, a broad strategy on how 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 gradual easing of the lockdown,” he said.
The chief ministers in their suggestions on reviving the economy have sought support to micro, small and medium enterprises, infrastructure projects such as power, easing of interest rates on loans and assured market access to agricultural produce, the statement said.
Compulsory quarantining of the stranded Indians returning from abroad by air and sea routes was also highlighted.
PM Modi 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,” the PM Modi was quoted as saying in the statement.
PM Modi pointed out that 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,” he said.
The prime minister said the country will need an all-encompassing approach to deal with various challenges that will arise before it.
“With the onset of monsoon, there will be proliferation of many non-COVID-19 diseases, for which we must prepare and strengthen our medical and health systems,” he said.
PM Modi asked the policy-makers 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 potential for domestic tourism “but we need to think of the contours of the same”.
PM Modi said he continues to feel optimistic as not even a single state sounded despondent and that this collective determination will make India win the fight against COVID-19.
He also pointed out that the post-COVID era will also bring opportunities that India must leverage.