Prime Minister Narendra Modi is slated to interact with chief ministers of all states today via video conferencing, where a decision would be taken on whether the 21-day lockdown to check the spread of COVID-19, should be extended.
According to sources, the Prime Minister to address the nation again to announce his decision on whether the coronavirus lockdown will end on April 14 or not. However, several states have favored for extension.
Odisha and Punjab have taken a lead and have extended the lockdown till May 1.
It is being speculated that the lockdown may be extended, but with several changes this time. Interstate movement of traffic and people will remain restricted, except for essential services. Schools, colleges and religious institutions are likely to stay closed, say reports.
In a recent meeting, Modi told the floor leaders of political parties who have representation in Parliament that several state governments, district administrations and experts have asked for an extension of the lockdown, likening the situation to a “national” and “social emergency.”
In the meeting held on Wednesday, Modi had said by all accounts the lifting of the lockdown “is not possible”. The interaction was held through video conferencing and those participated, included Ghulam Nabi Azad, leader of the opposition in Rajya Sabha, and Nationalist Congress Party head Sharad Pawar.
The prime minister has been interacting with various stakeholders, including doctors, journalists, and heads of Indian missions to get feedback on ways to check the spread of coronavirus.
Meanwhile, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has said in its monetary policy report that the outlook for India’s economic recovery has been sharply altered by the coronavirus outbreak.
According to an official statement, he said states, district administrations and experts have suggested extension of the lockdown to contain the spread of the virus.
This is for the second time the Prime Minister will interact with the chief ministers via video link after the lockdown was imposed. During his April 2 interaction with chief ministers, Modi had pitched for a “staggered” exit from the ongoing lockdown. Before the lockdown was announced on March 24, the prime minister had interacted with the chief ministers on March 20 to discuss means to check the spread of the deadly virus.