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Focus: GS-III Disaster Management

Why in news?

The Union government on 7th April 2020, indicated that it was actively considering an extension of the 21-day nationwide lockdown that began on March 25 and due to end on April 14 as many States have openly appealed for its continuation in the face of rise in COVID-19 cases.

What Ministers of various states had to say?

  • People have got used to the lockdown. We should take advantage of that and deal conservatively with the question of lifting the lockdown.
  • Certainly, borders of States should remain closed although activities within districts are on to some extent.
  • A conservative estimate and looking at the expected spikes in cases, we must go for another 14 days of lockdown at least.
  • There should be a partial lifting of the lockdown in a graded and calibrated manner.
  • Allow farmers to harvest their crops but keep schools and colleges closed.
  • Allow scooters and two wheelers to ply first.
  • Many State governments as well as experts have requested the Central government to extend the lockdown and the Centre is thinking in this direction.

Recommendations of the Group of Ministers (GoM) in Centre:

The GoM had an extensive discussion on the prevailing situation and shared its appreciation of the Cabinet decision to reduce the MPs salaries for a year and also the suspension of MPLAD funds for 2 years.

  • Places such as religious centres, where people have a tendency to gather in large numbers, should be closely monitored and such gatherings prevented.
  • Increased monitoring through drones was also suggested.
  • Steps to enhance testing facilities in laboratories.
  • The States were told to consult epidemiologists to analyse the spread of COVID-19 in potential hotspots.
February 2024