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New Delhi, May 11, 2020
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said India faced a two-fold challenge -- to reduce the transmission rate of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and to increase public activity gradually, while adhering to all the guidelines -- and the Centre and the States would have to work towards achieving both these objectives.
Interacting with Chief Ministers of all States today on the road ahead in India's fight against COVID-19, he said there was now a reasonably clear indication about the geographical spread of the pandemic in India, including the worst affected areas.
"Moreover, over the past few weeks, officials have understood operating procedures in a time such as this, right up to the district level," he said.
This was Modi's fifth video interaction with Chief Ministers since COVID-19 crisis began.
The Prime Minister said that this understanding of the spread of COVID-19 would help the country in having a focussed fight against it.
“And therefore, we can now further focus our strategy in this battle against coronavirus, as should be the case. We have a two-fold challenge – to reduce the transmission rate of the disease, and to increase public activity gradually, while adhering to all the guidelines, and we will have to work towards achieving both these objectives,” he said.
Modi said the effort now should be to stop the spread of the COVID-19 to rural areas.
The Prime Minister said the suggestions made by the States for a roadmap on the economy have been given due consideration.
An official press release said the Chief Ministers appreciated the leadership of the Prime Minister in the country’s fight against COVID-19 and also highlighted the need to strengthen the medical and health infrastructure in the country. Several of them pointed out that with the return of migrants, there is a need to concentrate on strict implementation of the social distancing guidelines, usage of masks and sanitization in order to curb the spread through fresh infection, especially in rural areas.
The compulsory quarantining of the stranded Indians returning from abroad was also highlighted. The Chief Ministers in their suggestions on the economy sought support for MSMEs, infrastructure projects like power, easing of interest rates on loans and assured market access to the agricultural produce.
The Prime Minister thanked the Chief Ministers for their proactive role in the country’s fight against the pandemic and for their valuable suggestions emanating out of their grassroot level experience.
Modi said people must understand that the world has fundamentally changed post COVID-19. Now the world will be Pre-Corona, Post-Corona just like the case of the World Wars. And this would entail significant changes in how people function, he said.
He said the new way of life would be on the principle of “Jan Se lekar Jag Tak”, from an individual to the whole of humanity. He said every one must plan for the new reality.
“Even as we look at the gradual withdrawal of the lockdown, we should constantly remember that till we do not find a vaccine or a solution, the biggest weapon with us to the fight the virus is social distancing,” he said.
The Prime Minister reaffirmed the importance of "Do Gaz Ki Doori" and added that the suggestion of night curfew made by many CMs would surely reaffirm the feeling of caution among people.
He requested all the Chief Ministers for specific feedback on the lockdown.
“I request you all to share with me by 15th May, a broad strategy on how you each one of you would want to deal with the lockdown regime in your particular states. I want states to make a blueprint on how to deal with various nuances during and after the gradual easing of the lockdown," he said.
Modi said the country would need an all-encompassing approach to deal with various challenges that will arise before it. With the onset of the monsoon, there will be proliferation of many non-COVID-19 diseases, for which the government must prepare and strengthen the medical and health systems.
He asked the policy makers to also keep in mind how to embrace new models of teaching and learning in the education sector.
Referring to tourism, the Prime Minister said he saw potential for domestic tourism but there was need to think of its contours.
“I am of the firm view that the measures needed in the first phase of lockdown were not needed during the 2nd phase and similarly the measures needed in the 3rd Phase are not needed in the fourth," he said.
Referring to the resumption of train services, the Prime Minister said it is needed to rev up economic activities, but pointed out that all the routes will not be resumed. He said only a limited number of trains would ply.
Modi said he continued to feel optimistic because not even a single state sounded despondent and declared that this collective determination would help India win in its fight against COVID-19.
He said the post-COVID era would also bring opportunities that India must leverage.