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As lockdown end nears, PM asks for graded plan to slowly open departments in non-hotspot areas

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Monday that a graded plan to slowly open departments where hotspots are not existing should be made.

Addressing the meeting of the Council of Ministers, PM Modi indicated that a graded opening up of the lockdown will be initiated.

“He noted that a graded plan to slowly open departments where hotspots aren’t existing should be made, adding that the crisis offers an opportunity to become self-dependent in the medical sector,” said a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).

The three week lockdown announced by the Prime Minister ends on April 14.

About the impact of Covid-19 on the economy, the Prime Minister said that the government must work on war-footing to mitigate the impact, adding that the Ministries should prepare a Business Continuity Plan.

Stating that lockdown measures and social distancing must go hand in hand, the Prime Minister said that it is essential to strategise for the emergent conditions once lockdown ends.

Indicating preparation for a post-lockdown period, he asked the Ministers to prepare a list of ten major decisions and ten priority areas of focus once lockdown ends, while exhorting them to identify and implement pending reforms in their Ministries.

PM Modi also indicated in his address that India from now will have to build more indigenous capability and capacity. While mentioning that due to the emergent challenges, the country needs to lessen its dependence on other nations, he asked all departments to maintain an objective index on how their work will promote ‘Make in India’.

It is also important to ensure there is no crowding at PDS centres, maintain effective monitoring, take action on complaints and prevent black marketing and rise in prices of essentials, he said.

The Prime Minister said that welfare of farmers is of high importance. He also said that the government would provide all possible help to farmers in the harvesting season. In this regard, he suggested harnessing technology and encouraging exploration of innovative solutions like using ‘truck aggregators’ to connect farmers with mandis, on the lines of app-based cab services.

He also underlined the need to devise a strategy to ensure procurement of tribal products so that the source of income source of the indigeneous tribal populace remains intact.

The Prime Minister stressed on the importance of monitoring continuously and ensuring that the benefits of PM Garib Kalyan Yojana keep reaching the intended beneficiaries in a seamless manner. He added that planning should incorporate the possibility of further spread of the virus. There should be continuous monitoring to maintain timelines of production of essential medicines and protection equipment.

Micro level-planning is essential to maintain supply lines and availability of essentials, he added.

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