An agenda for the PM and the CM | HT Editorial – Editorials
On Monday Prime Minister Narendra Modi will have another meeting with the chief ministers of the Indian states. This is the fourth such meeting on the coronavirus pandemic; and it is a reflection of how the challenge is a common national agenda, which requires that both the Center and the states work together. Despite the occasional differences, it is encouraging that the federal structure has functioned at this crucial time.
But it is time to use this meeting to address three key issues. The first is that of migrant workers. Since the lockout, migrant workers have suffered unbearable conditions and have been trying to return to their homes. Governments have been reluctant to facilitate his return for good reason: mass travel can lead to the spread of the virus and can carry the infection to unaffected areas. But this has not been accompanied by adequate communication and aid measures. For both material and emotional reasons, millions of workers are now restless. Some states have tried to organize buses and bring them back home. But there must be greater political clarity on whether migrant workers can return to their homes; If so, what are the routes and transportation mechanisms they can use? the best way to mitigate any public health hazard this may represent; and what financial aid measures can be provided to them.
The second problem is the states’ broken financial condition. While on the front lines of the battle (health is a state issue), states now have no money. Your spending has increased; but his income has almost collapsed. Many states will soon not have enough resources to meet their salary commitments, let alone provide enough funds to increase health needs and continue well-being. The Center has been slow to announce a stimulus for the economy; In addition, you must develop a comprehensive financial package for the states. And finally, there must be clarity about what happens after May 3. This newspaper supported the blockade: it slowed the growth rate of the infection and allowed the government to better prepare. But now is the time to lift restrictions in areas that are not hotspots, and allow economic activity to resume even in other districts. Of course, there must be safeguards; mass gatherings must remain prohibited; the rules of social distancing must be enforced; but India now needs, slowly, to open up. Otherwise, the costs are too high.