Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday called for tough decisions to deal with the coronavirus situation in India, which he described as akin to a 'social emergency'. The Prime Minister asserted that the priority of his government is to "save each and every life", while interacting with floor leaders of opposition and other parties.
"The country has been forced to take tough decisions, and must continue to remain vigilant. He said that several state governments, district administrations and experts have asked for extension of the phase of Lockdown," the Modi government said in a statement.
PM Modi praised the efforts of state governments and hailed the spirit of cooperative federalism.
"Today’s discussion reflects constructive and positive politics, reaffirms India’s strong democratic foundations and spirit of cooperative federalism," the PM said.
PM Modi held a meeting with floor leaders of opposition and other parties in Parliament to discuss the situation arising out of the deadly pandemic and the Centre's efforts to contain the fast spreading virus in India. The interaciton was held through video conferencing and was joined by Ghulam Nabi Azad, Congress leader of the opposition in Rajya Sabha and Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar among others.
Trinamool Congress' Sudip Bandyopadhyay, Shiv Sena's Sanjay Raut, Biju Janata Dal's Pinaki Misra, Samajwadi Party's Ram Gopal Yadav, Shiromani Akali Dal's Sukhbir Singh Badal, Bahujan Samaj Party's SC Mishra, YSR Congress Party's Vijay Sai Reddy and Mithun Reddy and Janata Dal United's Rajeev Ranjan Singh also attended the meeting.
The Prime Minister thanked leaders for proviidng feedback, suggest policy measures, discuss Lockdown and the way forward, the statement added.
Govt likely to extend lockdown: Adhir Ranjan
Congress Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said the government is likely to extend the ongoing lockdown beyond April 14 to combat the coronavirus spread.
"It is likely that the government may extend the lockdown," PTI quoted Chowdhury as saying after attending the meeting.
He said the Congress party has put forth some suggestions with regard to the crisis in the farming sector, including exemption of farmers from the 21-day lockdown for harvesting of Rabi crops. The party has also demanded that all taxes on fertilisers be withdrawn, he said.
The Congress leader said the party had suggested that those enrolled under the rural job scheme MGNREGA be given priority while carrying out harvesting of the standing crop.
The Centre is holding discussions at various levels and state governments with India nearing the April 14 deadline of the ongoing 21-day lockdown announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on March 24.
Several states have favoured the extension to contain the fast-spreading virus as the number of cases in India on Wednesday totalled above the 5,000 mark with nearly 150 fatalities.
In recent day, PM Modi has held discussions with various stakeholders, including heads of various political party, including Congress president Sonia Gandhi and TMC chief Mamata Banerjee.
Modi also recently talked to former presidents Pratibha Patil and Pranab Mukherjee as well as former PMs HD Deve Gowda and Manmohan Singh.
First Published: IST