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Prime Minister Modi’s Speech: A Mixed Bag | HT Editorial – Editorials


Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the extension of the national blockade for an additional 19 days, until May 3. This means that India will have a 40-day blockade, the longest a country has ever had, especially the size, population, and complexity of India in the world thus far. To be sure, there is a warning. Depending on the spread of the disease over the next week, there will be relaxations, beginning April 20, for necessary activities in states, districts, or subregions that have not witnessed, controlled, or succeeded in controlling the disease. disease. situation at critical points: groupings with a large number of cases.

The Prime Minister is right about the blockade. Until medical remedies exist to treat coronavirus disease (Covid-19), social distancing remains the most effective tool to prevent transmission of this highly contagious virus. India, with its weak health infrastructure, does not have the capacity to handle a large number of cases. Hope remains, just as it was when the closure was originally announced on March 24, that this period will help India “flatten the curve”; It will also give the government time and space to improve testing, focus on containment zones, provide personal protective equipment to health workers, embark on antibody testing, and gradually prepare the country for a return to economic life.

But this can only be part of the story. The public health strategy has enormous economic costs. It is true that lives must be saved. But along with the blockade, India should have announced a comprehensive stimulus for the economy like other countries. Throughout the world, countries have presented financial aid packages for all: individuals, companies and provinces. Just as India has led the closing front, it has lagged behind in this. India should have, for now, outlined and targeted measures for companies that are becoming increasingly unviable; workers who observe long-term unemployment; the poor who already face the possibility of hunger and hunger; and states, which are at the forefront of the battle but are fiscally limited and have been seeking support. It was not enough for the Prime Minister to acknowledge that he was aware of these difficulties; It was time to show, in detail, how the Center plans to help specific sectors, vulnerable citizens and state governments in this battle. This must be the next step in the government’s plan, and the Prime Minister must take personal ownership and announce it himself.

Hindustan Times