Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday video-conferenced with Chief Ministers of different states, asking them to decide on an exit strategy to ensure the re-emergence of the population from the national lock-down at an appropriate time.
The Prime Minister said the Chief Ministers could explore the possibility of a staggered exit and meet again to decide as to how it could be implemented. He, however, insisted that it should be a unified strategy.
The Chief Ministers agreed that the exit strategy should be decided on the basis of data and the best interests of the people.
Prime Minister Modi also praised the bipartisanship of the Chief Ministers in following the lockdown protocol. He said the common strategy they had adopted proved effective in checking the spread of the virus.
The situation arising out of the Markaj gatherings was also discussed. Prime Minister Modi asked the Chief Ministers to reach out to community elders and social welfare organisations in order to forge a community approach against the pandemic. He said the fight against Coronavirus had nothing to do with religion and would harm everyone if we were not careful.
In view of the global situation, Prime Minister Modi also cautioned the Chief Ministers against complacency. He also alerted them to the fact that some countries could still face a second wave of the spread. The Prime Minister assured everyone that India is vigilant against such a possibility.
This was the second video-conference between Prime Minister Modi and the Chief Ministers after the emergence of the pandemic.
Prime Minister Modi said the common goal was to ensure minimum loss of life. He added that in the next few weeks, testing, tracing, isolation and quarantine would remain focus areas.
The Prime Minister underscored the need to maintain the supply of essential medical products, availability of raw material for manufacture of medicines and medical equipment.
He said it is necessary to ensure availability of separate, dedicated hospital facilities for COVID-19 patients while asking the States to tap into the resource pool of AYUSH doctors, organize online training and utilise para-medical staff, NCC and NSS volunteers.
Emphasising the need for coordinated action and the need to avoid overlaps in the efforts of stakeholders, the Prime Minister spoke about the need to set up Crisis Management Groups at the district level and establish accredited labs for testing.
The Prime Minister also highlighted the need to ensure staggered release of funds to beneficiaries under the PM Garib Kalyan Yojana to avoid crowding at banks.
In view of the harvesting season, the Government relaxed some sections from lockdown norms but emphasised the need to constantly monitor and maintain social distancing.
The Prime Minister asked states to think of other platforms to procure foodgrains apart from the APMC and explore the possibility of creating pooling platforms for rural areas.
The Chief Ministers thanked Prime Minister Modi for his leadership, guidance and support in this time of crisis. They appreciated the Prime Minister for taking the bold and timely decision of the lockdown.
They also spoke about their efforts of maintaining social distancing, tracking suspect cases, identifying and quarantining suspect cases arising from Nizamuddin Markaz among other things.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah, who was one of the participants at the meeting, said the implementation of the lockdown should be more strict in some states.
Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh was also present at the meeting along with Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan as well as Principal Secretary, Cabinet Secretary, Home Secretary and DG ICMR.