Editorial: Good sign

Allaying fears of people and businesses, the government on Monday said that there was no immediate plan to extend the 21-day lockdown amid fears that shutdown of businesses across the country to counter the spread of coronavirus may trigger severe economic and social distress.

The clarification by Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba came after hundreds of thousands of migrant labourers undertook long journeys from major urban centres on foot to their homes in the last five days, reflecting their struggle for survival due to job losses following the lockdown.

The Central government has already directed States to make arrangements for shelter and food for the migrant workers. In a tweet, the government’s Press Information Bureau said: “There are rumours & media reports, claiming that the Government will extend the #Lockdown21 when it expires. The Cabinet Secretary has denied these reports, and stated that they are baseless.”

A Group of Minister (GoM) headed by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday carried out a comprehensive review of the situation arising out of the lockdown, including movement of the migrant labourers.

There has been fears that the lockdown may spark severe economic and social distress. In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Sunday said the sudden lockdown has created immense ‘panic’ and ‘confusion’.

He called for steps other than a total lockdown announced by some developed nations to tackle the deadly disease. On Sunday (29 March), Modi had said in his first Mann ki Baat address to the nation after the announcement of lockdown that this was the only option to fight coronavirus pandemic. The Prime Minister apologised to the people of the country for the imposition of lockdown. With the number of coronavirus cases under control in the country thanks to the measures taken by the government, it is a good sign that the Centre has said it has no plans to extend the lockdown.


NT Bureau