India is set to announce measures to further open up its economy based on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s interaction with chief ministers on Monday as the 54-day national lockdown nears its end on 17 May.
Balancing efforts to contain covid-19 with the need to help revive the economy, the government will further ease curbs on economic activities in the coming days even as efforts to check the spread of the pandemic will continue, a senior home ministry official said, citing Modi.
“Slowly but surely, economic activities have begun to pick up. In the coming days, this process will further gather steam. We must realise that the fight against covid-19 has to be more focused now,” the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, cited Modi as saying.
An official statement on the meeting was awaited at the time of going to press.
States demanded more flexibility in classifying areas based on the severity of the pandemic. Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh said in a post on Twitter that he proposed to Modi that the Centre should consider empowering states fiscally and economically. “States should have flexibility in micro-planning and the decision on designating red, orange or yellow and green zones should be left to us,” said Singh.
Reopening the economy and focusing the restrictions on tightly defined coronavirus hotspots have become crucial as the economic cost of the lockdown has become enormous with loss of livelihoods, fears of corporate bankruptcies and an overall contraction in the economy this fiscal.