Jaan bhi, Jahaan bhi: PM Modi hints at 2-week lockdown extension

The prime minister also used the opportunity to assure the state that India has adequate supplies of essential medicines

lockdown extension, Lockdown, coronavirus, COVID-19, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Coronavirus outbreak
This would be the prime minister's sixth round of consultation with the chief ministers, the last being on May 11. Photo: PTI

Following Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s meeting with the chief ministers, the government on Saturday (April 11) said the Centre is considering a request made by many states to extend the ongoing nationwide lockdown by two weeks beyond April 14.

According to an official statement about the interaction, during the video conference with CMs of all states on Saturday morning, the prime minister said there seems to be consensus amongst the states on extending the lockdown by two weeks. He underlined the motto of the government earlier was jaan hai to jahaan hai (saving lives) but now is jaan bhi jahaan bhi (saving lives as well as making the country prosperous).

A government spokesperson said that PM Modi told the chief ministers the focus should now be on ensuring health as well as prosperity of the nation for which the Central government is considering this request.

There are indications that an extension in the lockdown may come with certain relaxations to boost economic activities.


Related news: Kejriwal tweets about PM’s decision to extend lockdown, faces backlash

Sources said proposals being considered include diluting the restrictions in areas unaffected by the virus. The ongoing 21-day nationwide lockdown to contain the COVID-19 crisis is scheduled to end on April 14.

After the interaction, Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa said the lockdown post April 14 would be different from the ongoing three-week lockdown.

He said the PM told the chief ministers that the extension of the lockdown was inevitable and guidelines will be issued in a couple of days on its implementation for further 15 days.

According to the statement, during his interaction, PM Modi, himself wearing a white mask, told the CMs, “While announcing the lockdown, I had said jaan hai to jahan hai… Most people in the country understood it and discharged their responsibilities by remaining indoors. And now it is imperative to focus on both aspects, jaan bhi jahan bhi, for India’s bright future, and a prosperous and healthy India.”

He said if every citizen does his work while keeping both these aspects in mind and follows government instructions, the country’s fight against COVID-19 will get further strengthened.

Farmers and industry bodies have sought certain relaxations during the lockdown to carry out necessary activities.

Related news: CMs favour extension of COVID-19 lockdown during meeting with Modi

During the video conference with the prime minister, several chief ministers including Punjab’s Amarinder Singh, West Bengal’s Mamata Banerjee and Delhi’s Arvind Kejriwal suggested extending the lockdown at least by a fortnight.

Odisha and Punjab have already extended the lockdown till April 30 and May 1 respectively.

The CMs also sought financial and fiscal assistance from the Centre to boost their resources in this fight against the pandemic, the statement said.

Reflecting on the fight so far, PM Modi said that the combined effort of the Centre and the states have helped minimize the impact of COVID-19 on the country.

But as the situation is rapidly evolving, constant vigilance is paramount, the statement said. He emphasized the criticality of coming 3-4 weeks for determining the impact of the steps taken till now to contain the virus.

The prime minister also used the opportunity to assure the state that India has adequate supplies of essential medicines. He warned against blackmarketing and hoarding.

On the shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) for medical professions, the PM said that measures are being taken to ensure availability of protective gear and critical equipment for all frontline workers.

He also condemned the instances of attacks on doctors and medical staff, and misbehavior with students from the North-East and Kashmir.

Related news: Maharashtra extends lockdown until April 30 as COVID cases rise to 1,666

PM Modi underlined that such cases need to be dealt with firmly. He also spoke about the need to curb lockdown violations and ensure that social-distancing is followed.

The government has stressed since there is no medicine or vaccine to cure COVID-19, social distancing must be followed to curb its spread.

During the interaction, the prime minister talked about strengthening healthcare infrastructure and reaching out to patients through telemedicine. He also suggested that direct marketing of farm produce can be incentivised to prevent crowding at mandis, for which model agriculture produce marketing committee (APMC) laws should be reformed.

The PM also referred to the Aarogya Setu app and spoke about popularising it to ensure downloads in greater numbers.

“Based on those experiences, India has made its own effort through the app which will be an essential tool in India’s fight against the pandemic … He also referred to the possibility of the app being an e-pass which could subsequently facilitate travel from one place to another,” the statement said.

Related news: 1,035 COVID-19 cases, 40 deaths in last 24 hours: Health ministry

Talking about the economic challenges arising out of the health crisis, PM Modi said it is an opportunity to become self-reliant and turn the nation into an economic powerhouse.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Home Minister Amit Shah, Health Minister Harsh Vardhan and some senior officials, including from the Union Health Ministry were present during the meet.

The CMs who attended the meeting included Mamata Banerjee (West Bengal), Uddhav Thackeray (Maharashtra), Yogi Adityanath (Uttar Pradesh), Manohar Lal (Haryana), K Chandrashekhar Rao (Telangana) and Nitish Kumar (Bihar).

(With inputs from agencies)