PM Modi is likely to get opinion from the states on further raising of exemptions to boost economic activities.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will hold a video conference with chief ministers of states and Union Territories on Monday afternoon to review India’s progress in containing coronavirus disease while gradually restarting economic activities in a phased manner. The meeting will also be attended by home minister Amit Shah, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman, health minister Dr Harsh Vardhan along with senior officials from the centre including the home and health secretary.
Hindustan Times had today reported that this meeting will likely discuss the next stage in the exit from the nationwide lockdown and will focus on a further increase in economic activities and also on ways to tackle the pandemic in containment zones.
Cabinet secretary Rajeev Gauba held a meeting with the chief secretaries and the health secretaries of all states on Sunday to review the status of Covid-19 management. According to the Centre, the states were in favour of a two-pronged strategy to increase economic activities while containing the disease. Gauba had also held two meetings with state officials on Saturday to identify areas for reopening after May 17- when the third phase of lockdown ends. The meetings also discussed the situation arising out of a sharp rise in positive cases in a few pockets of the country.
Some officials familiar with the context of the prime minister’s meeting said more concessions were likely to be introduced after May 17, but the number of Covid-19 hotspots and containment zones is unlikely to change.
The government had classified all 773 districts in the country into three zones- Red, Orange and Green, to indicate the level of economic activity and restrictions in place in each of these districts. 130 districts were identified as part of the Red Zone, 284 as Orange Zone and 319 as Green Zone.
On Sunday, the total number of coronavirus cases in India climbed to 62,939, while total number of fatalities rose to 2,109.
The prime minister’s meeting with chief ministers will also happen in the backdrop of two tragedies- the Vizag Styrene gas leak case that killed 13 people and led to injuries to several others and the Aurangabad train accident in which 16 migrant workers were killed. The National Disaster Management Authority issued guidelines after the Vishakapatnam incident for restarting industries after the lockdown to prevent a repeat of such industrial accidents.
The meeting with the chief ministers is likely to also focus on the flight of migrant workers, which presents a difficulty for a full-scale resumption of manufacturing, industrial and construction activities.