Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said the Indian economy is in a good condition and indicated at a video meeting with chief ministers that the coronavirus lockdown would continue in the parts of the country worst affected by the infection.
“There is no need to worry on the economy front, our economy is good,” PM Modi reportedly told nine chief ministers at a video meeting.
Five of the nine chief ministers at the meeting said the lockdown should end, while the rest were in favour of extending it for the sake of controlling the spread of COVID-19.
Sources said the Prime Minister has asked all states to prepare their plan on exiting the lockdown by demarcating districts as red, green and orange based on the level of infection. Economic activities are likely to reopen in green and orange zones, say sources.
But any commercial activity will be allowed to restart only with social distancing rules and masks.
The chief ministers of Bihar, Odisha, Gujarat, Haryana, Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh and the Union Territory of Puducherry spoke during the meeting. From the northeast, the chief ministers of Meghalaya and Mizoram expressed their views. Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan skipped the meeting and deputed the chief secretary to represent the state.
A final decision is likely to be taken by May 3, when the lockdown is due to end. The states that are comparatively less affected by the COVID-19 infection could reopen, especially districts with fewer or no cases of coronavirus.
Sources say the states asked for a financial package from the Centre.
Restrictions on public transport are likely to continue. Schools and colleges are likely to stay shut and the ban on religious meetings and congregations will also continue.