As the head of the largest democracy in the world, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has swallowed the bitter pill by extending the already running 21 day lockdown to contain the spread of the Novel Coronavirus. In most unequivocal terms the Indian premier made it known that the extension of the lockdown is here to stay till May 3 and the citizen will have to continue doing its duty by maintaining social isolation, for the larger interest of the nation.
Modi said the collective strength and resolve demonstrated by the people is, in fact, a real tribute to the architect of the Constitution, Dr B R Ambedkar, whose birth anniversary is being observed today.
Speaking after due consultation and deliberation with all stakeholders, Modi said that India had done well to stop the pandemic from wreaking havoc in India, even though the number of people suffering from the disease has touched 10,453 and deaths topped 358, as per a Worldometer report.
As the next few weeks, eyes the complete cleansing of the virus, the government at this point led by the PM is aiming at identifying and acting on new hotspots swiftly. The PM has already said that till April 20, a careful survey and evaluation will decide the easing process. He said those who show remarkable improvement in not allowing new hotspots to be created will see a breather post April 20. His rider with that was any carelessness or dangers could lead to even stricter measures. A detailed list of guidelines are slated to be issued by the government in the 24 hours.
Facing the ire of people for the plight of the poor and daily wagers, he was emphatic in admitting that poor and daily-wage workers indeed are his family. He said the mitigation of their problems are my priority. Rabi harvest is on in the country these days; the welfare of farmers will be kept in mind, he underscored. He was more than reassuring that India had adequate supplies of essential medicines to ensure protective gear and critical equipment for all frontline workers.
Modi said a stitch in time worked. He said, “ When we had about 550 cases, we took the big step of imposing a 21-day nationwide lockdown. All through this turmoil, we have acted in time and taken steps before issues become big. If we look at other very developed countries and the Covid-19 turmoil they are facing, we are comfortably placed in relative terms. In those countries, thousands of people have sadly died,” he said.
“The world is looking to India in view of the way we have tackled the crisis with limited resources. In spite of all these, the way coronavirus is spreading across the world, government and authorities are on their toes globally.”
The PM also made a seven-point appeal in his address. He called for caring more especially for the aged in your family. Keeping your faces covered, wearing masks, etc. Strengthening your immunity, following the advice of the AYUSH ministry. Stress was laid on downloading the Arogya Setu app. Helping the economically weaker sections, being sensitive as an employer towards employees and having strong regard for the Corona warriors of this country who are at the frontlines.
The formal announcement of a lockdown extension came at a time when 11 states and Union Territories had announced extension of the lockdown till April 30. These were Delhi, Maharashtra, Telangana, Punjab, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, West Bengal, Arunachal Pradesh, Pudduchery and Mizoram. The sudden lockdown phase comes at time when the Indian economy has reported its lowest growth in six years. The pandemic threatens mass unemployment in the country.
Having cemented itself as the ‘world’s biggest lockdown’ the social isolation process is estimated to cost the economy a whopping Rs 8 trillion , according to a report. Modi at a point has had to apologize for the mass job losses that the labour class has suffered. As India tries coming out of what looks like a jolt to life and livelihood, India stays inside to support the leader of the nation.