New Delhi, April 11 (IANS) Underlining the motto of 'jaan hai to jahaan hai' to 'jaan bhi, jahaan bhi', Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday for the third time interacted with the chief ministers to chalk out the exit plan for the lockdown and said there seems to be a consensus among the states to extend the lockdown by another two weeks.
The 21-day nationwide lockdown is coming to end on April 14 and the number of coronavirus cases is rising further across the country.
Talking about the exit plan from lockdown, the Prime Minister said, "There seems to be a consensus among the states on extension of lockdown by another two weeks."
He underlined that the motto of the government earlier was 'jaan hai to jahaan hai' but now it is: 'jaan bhi, jahaan bhi'.
This was Modi's third interaction with the Chief Ministers. He interacted with the chief ministers earlier on March 20 and April 2.
The meeting went on for four hours from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
During the video conference, the Prime Minister talked about strengthening healthcare infrastructure and reaching out to patients through tele-medicine and also suggested that direct marketing for farm produce can be incentivised to prevent crowding in mandis, for which model APMC laws should be reformed swiftly.
"Such steps will help farmers sell products at their doorstep," he said in the meeting.
The Prime Minister observed that the combined effort of the Centre and the states has definitely helped reduce the impact of Covid-19, but since the situation is rapidly evolving, constant vigilance is paramount.
He emphasized the criticality of coming 3-4 weeks for determining the impact of the steps taken till now to contain the virus, adding that teamwork is the key to facing the challenge.
Modi assured that India has adequate supplies of essential medicines and said that measures are being taken to ensure availability of protective gear and critical equipment for all front-line workers.
He also gave a "stern" message against black-marketing and hoarding.
Condemning and expressing distress at the instances of attacks on the doctors and medical staff, and at incidents of misbehavior with students from North-East and Kashmir, Prime Minister 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 Prime Minister also spoke about popularizing the Aarogya Setu app to ensure downloads in greater numbers.
He referred to how South Korea and Singapore got success in contact tracing. "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 said.
He also referred to the possibility of the app being an e-pass which could subsequently facilitate travel from one place to another.
Talking about the economic challenges, Modi said that the crisis is an "opportunity" to become "self-reliant" and turn the nation into an economic powerhouse.
During the video conferencing, the Chief Ministers provided feedback about the Covid-19 positive cases in their respective states, steps taken by them to maintain social distancing, ramp up healthcare infrastructure, mitigate difficulties of migrants and maintain supply of essentials.
The Chief Ministers also suggested that lockdown should be extended by two weeks. They also sought financial and fiscal assistance from the Centre to boost their resources in this fight against the pandemic.
On Saturday, the total number of Covid-19 cases in India rose to 7,447 with 239 deaths across the country.
The Prime Minister had announced 21-day nationwide lockdown on March 23 during his second special address to the nation.