Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday announced that India will head into the fourth phase of the lockdown but it will much different than the first three phases.
Addressing the nation for the fifth time, PM Modi announced the news of lockdown extension.
“The fourth phase of the lockdown will be completely new in form and rules,” PM Modi said.
The prime minister indicated that the Centre will incorporate suggestions given by chief ministers during Monday’s videoconference to formulate rules for Lockdown 4.0.
PM Modi said that restrictions and relaxations for the fourth phase of the lockdown will be announced before May 18. “Information regarding Lockdown 4.0 will be given by May 18 after taking into consideration states’ recommendations,” the prime minister said.
During his address, PM Modi also announced a special economic package and said the recent decisions by the government, the decisions by the RBI combined with Tuesday’s financial package announcement come to about Rs 20 lakh crore – nearly 10 per cent of India’s GDP.
He said, “There is an unprecedented crisis but India will neither get tired nor give up the fight against coronavirus, and asserted that “we have to protect ourselves and move ahead as well”.
The special economic package is for our labourers, farmers, honest taxpayers, MSMEs and cottage industry, the prime minister added.
The prime minister’s statement on the lockdown came a day after several chief ministers demanded modification of lockdown rules and increased autonomy to decide how to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.
Economic activities in India are set to “gather steam”, PM Modi told chief ministers on Monday, while asserting that the country will have to devise a “balanced strategy” to revive the economy and deal with Covid-19 with a sharp focus on ensuring that rural areas remain free from the pandemic.
The new lockdown will come in the midst of growing demands by states, industries, workers and several political leaders to withdraw the lockdown from non-Covid areas as it has adversely impacted the economy and livelihoods of a large section of people. However, the number of cases in India continue to rise at a steady rate.
The death toll due to Covid-19 rose to 2,293 and the number of cases climbed to 70,756 in the country on Tuesday, registering an increase of 87 fatalities and 3,604 cases in the last 24 hours since Monday 8 am, according to the Union health ministry.
The third and current phase of the Covid-19 lockdown comes to an end on May 17.
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