New Delhi: On the last day of the 21-day nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of the coronavirus, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address the nation at 10 AM on Tuesday. He is most likely to talk of the way forward to combat the corona crisis. Also Read - Sonia Gandhi Writes to PM Modi, Seeks 10 kg Foodgrains For NFSA Beneficiaries Till September
“Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address the nation at 10 AM on April 14, 2020,” the PMO India said in a tweet. The development comes as PM Modi had on Saturday held consultations with the chief ministers of all states through video conferencing. Also Read - PM Modi Speaks to Vietnam PM, Discusses COVID-19 Situation, Bilateral Collaboration
Soon after the meeting with the CMs, PM Modi said there seems to be a consensus among states on the extension of lockdown by another two weeks and stressed that the objective of the government earlier was ‘Jaan Hai To Jahaan Hai’ (If life is there, the world is there) but now is ‘Jaan Bhi, Jahaan Bhi’ (Life also, the world also). Also Read - ‘Modi Uncle Said Not to go Out of House’: Even This Cute Little Boy Knows Lockdown Rules- Watch Video
His focal point on ‘Jaan Bhi and Jahan Bhi’ appears to be an indication of some relaxation in the ongoing lockdown. The thrust area of the Centre indicates the government’s desire that economic activity should also gather some pace in a manner that the fight to contain the coronavirus is not affected.
Expectations from across the country mounted that PM Modi may dwell on plans to restart economic activities in a graded manner.
In a late-night development, Tamil Nadu, Arunachal Pradesh and Puducherry formally announced an extension of the lockdown till April 30 taking to nine the number of states adopting this step. The other states are Odisha, Punjab, Maharashtra, Telangana, West Bengal and Karnataka.
The nationwide lockdown announced by PM Modi is in place from March 25 in an unprecedented measure in the fight against COVID-19 and is scheduled to end on Tuesday.
Giving some good news at this critical time, the officials of the Health Ministry on Monday said that 25 districts across 15 states which had detected COVID-19 infections earlier have contained the spread and reported no new cases in 14 days. This is a positive development in the fight against the coronavirus.
The Health Ministry also stated that with a record 51 fatalities within 24 hours, the death toll due to coronavirus jumped to 324 and the number of cases in the country climbed to 9,352.
A broad consensus among chief ministers has emerged that the nationwide lockdown should be extended by at least two weeks after a meeting with PM Modi. After the meeting, the Centre at present is broadly focusing on a two-pronged action plan–containing the spread of COVID-19 in the country and staggered resumption of economic activities.
In another development, Union ministers and senior officials resumed working from offices in Delhi as the Centre scaled up its activities to deal with the situation arising out of the coronavirus crisis.
In the national capital, Development Minister Gopal Rai said that the timings for the sale of vegetables and fruits in the ‘mandis’ have been staggered to reduce crowds.
Meanwhile, the Congress urged PM Modi to be bold in declaring a financial package worth at least 5 to 6 per cent of India’s GDP to ensure economic recovery post the COVID-19 lockdown.
On the other hand, Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi also wrote to PM Modi, seeking 10kg free foodgrains per person till September to the poor, including migrants who do not hold ration cards.
In the letter to PM Modi, Sonia said the current crisis has pushed many relatively food secure families into food insecurity and poverty, despite India having a large buffer stock of foodgrains.
Meanwhile, Rahul Gandhi also said that the one-size-fit-all lockdown should be upgraded using mass-testing to isolate virus hotspots and allow business to reopen in other areas.
“The one-size-fit-all lockdown has brought untold misery and suffering to millions of farmers, migrant labourers, daily wagers & business owners. It needs a ‘smart’ upgrade, using mass testing to isolate virus hotspots & allowing businesses in other areas to gradually reopen,” he said on Twitter.
Addressing a press conference, Congress senior spokesperson Anand Sharma said the party demanded the central government pays all pending dues to states to enable them to fight the coronavirus outbreak, besides also giving each of them special economic packages.