PM Narendra Modi to discuss covid-19 with chief ministers on 16 and 17 June2 min read . Updated: 12 Jun 2020, 10:36 PM IST
- The surge in the number of covid-19 cases comes as the Indian government on 31 May announced measures to slowly ease restrictions and allow economic activity
- Prime Minister Modi last interacted with chief ministers on 12 May to review the coronavirus outbreak related developments
NEW DELHI : Prime minister Narendra Modi is to meet state chief ministers in two batches next week on 16 and 17 June, a person familiar with the development said on Friday. This comes against the backdrop of novel coronavirus cases in the country crossing the 300,000 mark and India overtaking Britain to reach the fourth spot in the list of countries with most covid-19 cases.
The surge in the number of covid-19 cases comes as the Indian government on 31 May announced measures to slowly ease restrictions and allow economic activity to take place in most areas except in containment zones where activities are restricted till 30 June.
Under "Unlock 1" announced on 30 May, relaxations were made for public and businesses to ensure that economic activities hit by the lockdown gather momentum. On Monday, hotels, restaurants, hospitality services and shopping malls were allowed to be opened while ensuring standard operating procedures (SOPs) prescribed by the health ministry were followed including social distancing norms. A night curfew however is in place with movement of only essential services allowed between 9 pm to 5 am throughout the country with local authorities to ensure strict compliance.
The Modi government had imposed a lockdown on 25 March – seen as one of the most stringent in the world -- which brought all economic activity to a standstill with the intention of stemming covid-19 infections. It was then extended many times with the government allowing very limited activities to start from 21 April. However the suspension of economic activity dealt a blow to supply of goods and services with incomes and livelihoods suffering. Economists have expressed fears that the Indian economy will contract this financial year. India’s economic growth has slumped to its lowest level in the current series at 3.1% in the March quarter with data suggesting the economy could be heading for a major shock in the June quarter. Data released by the statistics department showed during FY20, GDP grew at 4.2% against 6.1% in the previous year as private consumption slowed down and investment demand contracted even before the pandemic hit the economy.
Last month, the Modi government unveiled a more than ₹20 trillion economic package to help individuals and small businesses tide over crisis. The package also included long pending reforms for the agriculture sector and set self reliance as the guiding principle for India’s economic policy.
Prime Minister Modi last interacted with chief ministers on 12 May to review the coronavirus outbreak related developments and to strategise the handling of the pandemic. That was his fifth interaction with chief ministers since 20 March, a forum where Modi assessed how different parts of the country was hit by the health crisis. The suggestions chief ministers have given have helped in formulating the national approach for opening up the economy.
Gireesh Chandra Prasad contributed to this story