The need of the hour is greater medical preparedness to fight the covid-19 pandemic and continuation of economic activity in the states, chief ministers of 21 states and top officials of Union territories told Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a meeting on Tuesday.

Chief ministers of several states raised the need for increasing the number of beds, at the meeting held two weeks after the start of the first phase of Unlock-1. State governments fear that there could be a spike in the number of coronavirus cases as people start to venture out of their homes and economic activity gathers pace.

The chief ministers also highlighted the need for the Centre to provide more financial assistance to the states, relook the conditionality for borrowing for states and focus on rebooting farm activities and micro, small and medium enterprises.

The prime minister will hold another round of meeting with 15 states and Union territories on Wednesday.

“During the meeting, chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh suggested to the Prime Minister to set up a group, which should include a few chief ministers, to discuss and formulate a coordinated Centre-state response to the devastating impact of covid on the economy and governments across the country,” said a release by the chief minster’s office (CMO) of Punjab.

In his interaction, Singh said that there was a need to take care of both lives and livelihoods. He urged both the Centre and states to ensure more coordination. The chief minister also gave details of Punjab’s house-to-house surveillance programme, a move known to have been appreciated by Modi in the meeting.

“Thank you Hon’ble PM @narendramodiji for sharing your insights in the VC today. Certain that #Unlock1 will foster an economic reboot through empowering our #MSMEs and the Agriculture sector and help us strengthen the livelihoods of citizens affected by the #Covid_19 pandemic,” Meghalaya chief minister Conrad Sangma tweeted after the meeting.

State governments should take lessons from the developments in the past two weeks, which constitute the first phase of Unlock-1, Modi said at the start of the meeting. There were signs of economic activity gaining momentum in some parts of the country, but there cannot be any let up in precautions being taken to counter the covid-19 pandemic, he said.

The need for being alert but at the same time stepping up economic activity was discussed, Uttarakhand chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat posted on Twitter.

The fight against the pandemic won’t stop no matter what, Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Pema Khandu posted on Twitter.

This was the sixth round of meetings that Modi has been holding with chief ministers since the outbreak of the pandemic. The first meeting was held on 20 March.

The main thrust of Tuesday’s meeting was to assess how the unlocking phase was going on in states.

Earlier, Chhattisgarh chief minister Bhupesh Baghel, who attended the meeting on Tuesday, had written to Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on similar lines. Chief ministers, particularly from opposition-ruled states, have in the past two months reiterated the need for more economic assistance from the Centre to the states.

Nesw Source: Livemint


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