According to government sources, a lot of state governments, as well as experts, are requesting Central government to extend the lockdown. The central government is thinking in this direction.
The speculations about the lockdown can’t be said to be veiled-off as a meeting between the Group of Ministers (GOM) was hosted by the Union Minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday during which there was no decision taken on whether to end the lockdown on April 14 or to extend it.
The meeting was called to decide the plan of action by the Centre on COVID-19 hosted at Singh’s residence.
In the meeting, the discussion was made on the availability and smooth passage of essential supplies and particularly coronavirus hotspots were discussed in the meeting, sources said.
In the meeting, Home Minister Amit Shah, Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar, Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan among others were present.
In the meeting, the GOM welcomed the decision to reduce the salaries of the Member of Parliaments for a year and suspension of MPLADS for a couple of years, in the view of outbreak.
Taking it to Twitter Rajnath Singh said, “Today the Group of Ministers had an extensive discussion on the prevailing situation post the Lockdown. We shared the appreciation for the Union Cabinet’s decision to reduce the salaries of all MPs for a year and also the suspension of MPLADS funds for 2 years.”
“The amount saved through these decisions would be utilised in strengthening India’s fight against Coronavirus. The ministers also shared their insights on how we can overcome the situation and help the people to stay motivated, determined and vigilant in the battle against COVID-19,” he said on another tweet.
Today the Group of Ministers had an extensive discussion on the prevailing situation post the Lockdown. We shared the appreciation for the Union Cabinet’s decision to reduce the salaries of all MPs for a year and also the suspension of MPLADS funds for 2 years. pic.twitter.com/N8vOy2SCtv
— Rajnath Singh (@rajnathsingh) April 7, 2020
While Cabinet Secretary Rajeev Gauba had a week ago denied that there were any plans to extend the lockdown, several states have written to the Centre saying that the restrictions must continue.
Yesterday, at a cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said people must be prepared for a long haul. He had urged the ministers to come up with a ‘graded plan’.
Union Minister Prakash Javadekar had a different version on the extension on lockdown. He said the decision to extend the lockdown would be taken in the national interest at the right time.
According to reports, UP CM Yogi Aditynath has also stressed on the need to extend the 21-day lockdown.
UP CM said, “We have started a COVID care fund to improve the testing facilities and are working to secure more PPE, testing kits & ventilators.”
“All 24 medical colleges are being upgraded. Collection centres will be brought up in all districts. Lockdown is necessary,” he said.
The dramatic spike in COVID-19 cases, which was anticipated to be contained after the nationwide ‘complete’ and ‘strict’ lockdown was imposed by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has prompted speculation of extension of the lockdown.
As of now, the COVID-19 cases in India have approached near to 4000 mark with 114 deaths.