Lockdown extension: PM’s meeting with parties hold answer

TC Bureau New Delhi: In what may hold many answers to possibility of an extension of the ongoing nationwide lockdown, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is holding a meeting with Parliamentary floor leaders of different parties this Wednesday morning. However, there is unlikely to be any immediate announcement, before April 11, say sources.

The meeting started at 11 a.m. through video conferencing, to decide the future course of action as far as coronavirus outbreak in India is concerned, among other key issues.

The primary point on the agenda remains whether to end the lockdown or extend it and if the government wishes to withdraw it, what should be the approach. The current shutdown is slated to end on April 14.

Another point of discussion is the economic impact of the shutdown and how to deal with it. Money released to states, future of daily wage workers who are the worst hit due to total shutdown and scope if any possible economic package are also on the table to discuss in the meeting, said sources.

The government is expecting some opposition to the ordinance to suspend MPLAD scheme for two years. Modi will hear their views and try to reason with them, the sources said.

Explaining the current food supply chain, and availability of essentials remains one of the top agenda in view of extension of the shutdown. Government sources indicated on Tuesday that the government is ”considering requests” by various chief ministers against ending the current shutdown on April 14.

The Prime Minister is holding the meeting through video conference from his official residence of 7, Lok Kalyan Marg. Union Ministers Rajnath Singh and Amit Shah are present with him.

The Shiv Sena is believed to be represented by Sanjay Raut, the Lok Janshakti Party by Chirag Paswan, the Samajwadi Party by Prof Ram Gopal Yadav, the Bahujan Samaj Party by Danish Ali and Satish Mishra and the Biju Janata Dal by Pinaki Misra.

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