PM Modi in meeting with CMs: Green shoots visible in economy, any laxity will weaken Covid-19 fight

16 June, 2020 | newsx bureau

Prime Minister Narendra Modi National

PM Modi on Tuesday weighed the impact of coronavirus pandemic in India in a meeting with heads of 21 States and UTs held via video conferencing.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said that green shoots were visible in the economy due to efforts of the past few weeks and noted that the focus should be on both life and livelihood with a boost to health infrastructure, testing and tracing and an increase in economic activity. The Prime Minister made the remarks on the first day of his sixth meeting with chief ministers and union territories through video conferencing on ways to deal with coronavirus crisis. Referring to Unlock 1, he said offices have opened and crowds have increased in markets.

“Now precautions are even more important. Any carelessness or laxity will weaken our fight against coronavirus and will undo all our efforts. The more we are able to contain coronavirus, the more the economy will open up. Because of the efforts made in the last few weeks, green shoots in the economy are visible,” he said.

The Prime Minister said there is a rise in power consumption which was earlier falling and fertilizer sale in May this year has seen a significant increase. “Sale of fertilizers has doubled in comparison with May last year. Sowing of Kharif has increased by 12-13 per cent compared with last year. Two-wheeler production has increased to 70 per cent to that of pre-lockdown. Digital payments in retail have reached around the pre-lockdown level. Toll collection has increased. It shows growth in economic activity. Exports have bounced back after three months like last year. It all encourages us to move ahead,” he said.

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He asked the chief ministers to continuously keep driving the fact that danger of the virus is not over yet and said there is a need to remain vigilant while opening up the economy.

Referring to Atmanirbhar Bharat campaign, he said several decisions have been taken to support MSMEs. The Prime Minister said that if quick disbursal of credit to industries is ensured through bankers committees, these industries will be able to start working quickly while also ensuring the provision of employment opportunities.

Smaller factories need guidance and handholding. We have to work together on value chains so that trade and industry can get back to its pace,” he said. He noted that “Specific Economic Activity Points” in the states should work 24 hours a day and loading and unloading should be quickened to give a further boost to economic activity.

Referring to reforms announced by the government in agriculture marketing, he said new avenues to sell produce and increase in income would increase demand in the economy.

“When farmers’ income will increase, demand will also increase along with the pace of the economy. In northeastern states and tribal areas, opportunities will develop in farming and horticulture. Gates of new markets are about to open for organic products, bamboo and other tribal products,” the Prime Minister said.

He said states will also benefit from a cluster-based approach for local products.

“States will also get the benefit of the cluster-based strategy which has been announced for local products. For this, it is important that we identify such products at the block and district level which can be processed. These products can be also launched in the market,” he said.

The Prime Minister highlighted that India is among countries with the least number deaths due to COVID-19 and noted that the country can minimise its losses if all the rules to prevent the spread of coronavirus are followed.

“The recovery rate has gone above 50 per cent in India. For us the death of even one Indian is unsettling but it is also true that India is one of the countries where there have been least deaths due to COVID-19,” he said.

“The two weeks of `Unlock 1′ has given us a lesson that if follow all rules and directions, then the country will be able to minimise its losses. To even think of stepping out without a mask or face cover is not right at present. ‘Do gaz ki doori’, hand-washing and use of sanitisers are of utmost importance. With markets opening and people stepping out, these precautions are even more important,” he added.

He said that timely decisions have helped in containing coronavirus in the country.

“Two weeks have passed since Unlock 1. Our experience during this time could be beneficial for us in the future. Today I will get to know ground reality from you. Your suggestions will help in chalking out future strategy,” he said.

The Prime Minister said that timing matters a lot in overcoming any crisis.

“Timely decisions have helped a lot in containing coronavirus in the country. When India’s fight against COVID-19 will be analysed in the future, this time will be remembered for how we worked together and served as an example of cooperative federalism,” he said.

The Prime Minister said that in the last few weeks, thousands of Indians returned to India from abroad and hundreds of migrant workers reached their home towns. “Almost all modes of transport have resumed operations, still COVID-19 impact has not been that huge in India as in other parts of the world,” he said.

The meeting saw participation from Punjab, Assam, Kerala, Uttarakhand, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Tripura, Himachal Pradesh, Chandigarh, Goa, Manipur, Nagaland, Ladakh, Puducherry, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Dadra Nagar Haveli and Daman Diu, Sikkim and Lakshadweep.

A PMO release said that the chief ministers thanked the Prime Minister for his leadership during such a challenging time and uniting the country to fight for the collective fight against the virus. They provided feedback about existing health infrastructure in their states and efforts for augmentation to tackle the impact of the virus. They mentioned about the awareness campaigns being run by them, help being provided to workers who have returned home, usage of Aarogya Setu app and kickstarting of economic activities in the states.

Thanking the chief ministers for their views, the Prime Minister underscored the importance of being focused on both life and livelihood. He said health infrastructure will need to be boosted with emphasis on testing and tracing, economic activity will also need to be increased.

The decisions need to be taken keeping in view both current needs and future requirements, he said. Home Minister Amit Shah said that while the country has so far fought a successful battle against the pandemic, the road ahead is long and suggestions given by the Prime Minister including use of mask, maintaining `do gaz doori’ should be followed by all.

Prime Minister Modi had held a detailed meeting with senior ministers and officials to review India’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic on Saturday. The COVID-19 count in India reached 3,43,091 on Tuesday with an increase of 10,667 cases and 380 deaths in the past 24 hours.

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