New Delhi: At a time when the coronavirus cases in the country have neared 27,000-mark, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will on Monday interact with chief ministers through video conferencing to discuss the way forward in the fight against the COVID-19. It is expected that the discussions with the chief ministers would focus on a graded exit from the ongoing nationwide lockdown along with an economic package. Also Read - Will Lockdown be Extended Beyond May 3? Five States Say ‘Yes’ Hours Ahead of Meeting With PM Modi
Notably, this is the latest video conference of PM Modi with the chief ministers after the spread of the COVID-19 in the country. Also Read - Lockdown Exit Plan, State-specific Progress: Here's What to Expect From PM Modi's Third Video Meet With CMs Tomorrow
The meeting of PM Modi with the CMs comes at a time when the Centre and the state governments have been giving gradual relaxation in various fields and sectors to boost economic activities in the country. But some states, more specifically five, are willing to extend the lockdown beyond May 3 to ensure that coronavirus cases remain under control. Also Read - Mann Ki Baat Highlights: PM Modi Stresses on 2-Feet Distance, Asks People to Stop Spitting in Public | 10 Points
While addressing his monthly ‘Mann ki Baat’ radio programme, PM Modi, earlier in the day, said the country is in the middle of a ‘yudh’ (war) and asserted that people have to continue being careful and take precautions.
“I urge you not to get overconfident. You should in your over-enthusiasm not think that if the coronavirus has not yet reached your city, village, street or office, it is not going to reach now. Never make such a mistake. The experience of the world tells us a lot in this regard,” he said.
During his radio talks, PM Modi referred to a popular Hindi idiom ‘Sawdhani hati, durghatna ghati’ (accident happens when caution is lowered) to make his point clear.
To boost the economic activities in the country, the MHA has now allowed neighbourhood and standalone shops, including those located in residential complexes, in urban areas, to open during the lockdown. But those in the markets continue to remain shut till May 3.
However, there will be no opening of shops in COVID-19 hotspot and containment zones. Moreover, the sale of non-essential items by e-commerce platforms and sale of liquor continue to be prohibited.
If media reports are to be believed, then at least nine chief ministers will attend the meeting with PM Modi on Monday.
PM Modi, through the video conference at 10 AM, is expected to review the COVID-19 situation and possible extension of the lockdown.
It is also believed that the chief ministers will discuss with PM Modi about the responses to the partial relaxations granted on April 20 to certain sectors, the situation regarding test kits and the protection of health workers in the country.
During the interaction, the states might demand a financial package from the Centre, and an amendment to the FRBM (Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management) Act.
In the earlier meetings, almost all the states have given their views. Therefore, in this meeting, it is the turn of the chief ministers from Bihar, Odisha, Gujarat, Haryana, Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh and the Union Territory of Puducherry. From the northeast, the Chief Ministers of Meghalaya and Mizoram will also speak to PM Modi.
As per updates from the Health Ministry, the countrywide COVID-19 death toll went up to 826 with 47 more fatalities being reported in 24 hours while the number of cases climbed to 26,917 on Sunday.