‘Jaan Bhi, Jahan Bhi’ in Focus as Modi Set to Address on Lockdown
NEW DELHI : Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address the nation at 10am on Tuesday, the last day of the nationwide coronavirus lockdown, amid indications that the shutdown could be extended till April-end with certain relaxations to boost economic activities.
An indication that while the lockdown maybe extended to ensure social distancing, some relaxations would be made to push economic activities also came from the prime minister, who during a meeting with chief ministers on Saturday via video conferencing, said it was important to save lives as well as livelihoods.
At least Eight states — Maharashtra, Odisha, Punjab, West Bengal, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu,Arunachal and Telangana — have already announced extension of the lockdown till April 30.
According to the Union Health Ministry’s latest update, the Covid-19 death toll has risen to 308 and the number of confirmed cases climbed to 9,152 in the country, which is under the nationwide lockdown since March 25.
In his address to the nation on March 24, the Prime Minister had announced the 21-day lock down in the country to contain the spread of corona virus. During a meeting last week, several Chief Ministers had suggested to the Centre that an extension of the lock down may be considered amid surging corona virus cases across the country.
States likes Odisha, Punjab and Maharashtra , Arunachal Pradesh have already extended the lockdown period by almost a fortnight .
A health ministry data on Sunday revealed that the COVID-19 has spread to at least 80 more districts across the country in merely four days; whereas it present, as many as 364 districts have cases of corona virus infections.
There are concerns that India’s economy, which was already growing at its slowest pace in six years, will take a severe hit amid the lock down, with unemployment rising to record levels. The restrictions have put millions of poor people out of work and hit small shops and industries hard.
There is a proposal to mark districts as red, orange and green based on the intensity of the Covid 19 infection. Officials say around 400 districts, which are largely unaffected, can be in the green zone where agriculture, construction and manufacturing activities can begin while keeping social distancing in mind.
PM Modi indicated in the four hour meeting that while saving lives is priority, the economy also needs to restart. “Jaan bhi, jahaan bhi (both life and economy are important),” he told the Chief Ministers, compared to what he had said three weeks ago while announcing the total nationwide lockdown – “Jaan hai toh jahaan hai (the world exists if life exists).”
Though there was nothing official after the meeting, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had tweeted: “PM has taken correct decision to extend lock down. Most CMs who attended the video conference pointed out that they may not have the massive resources needed to deal with a spurt in COVID-19 cases if the lock down is removed sooner. The chief ministers asked the centre for relief packages.