NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said the economy is showing “green shoots” as the country emerges from the coronavirus lockdown and asserted that the fight against the pandemic is a fine example of cooperative federalism where the Centre and the states are working together.
In his opening remarks at a meeting with chief ministers and Lt Governors of 21 states and union territories, he said one laxity can undo what has been achieved in the fight against Covid-19 and urged people not to lower their guard against the killer virus.
He said as “Unlock 1” completes two weeks, it is important to review the experiences.
Modi said “timing” is very important to deal with any crisis and “decisions taken at the right time have helped a lot in controlling the coronavirus infection in the country”.
When coronavirus was not even a topic of discussion in many countries, India started preparations to deal with it and started taking decisions.
“We have worked day and night to save the lives of every Indian,” the Prime Minister asserted.
Thousands of Indians have returned to the country from abroad in the past few weeks. In the past weeks, millions of migrant workers have returned to their villages.
“Rail-road, air-sea, all routes have been opened. But despite this, despite our country being so populous, coronavirus infection in India has not shown the same devastating effect that it has shown in other countries,” he told the chief ministers.
Experts the world over are discussing the lockdown and discipline shown by the people of India, he said.
“Today, the recovery rate in India is above 50 per cent … Death of anyone from coronavirus is tragic. For us, the death of even one Indian is discomforting. But it is also true that today India is among the countries in the world with the lowest deaths due to coronavirus,” he said.
The experience of many states increases the confidence that India can move forward in this crisis by limiting its losses and can handle its economy faster, he said.
“In the last few weeks, green shoots have started appearing in our economy. The power consumption which was decreasing earlier, has started increasing now. In May, fertiliser sales have doubled compared to May last year,” Modi said.
This time, kharif sowing has been higher by about 12-13 per cent than the previous year.
The demand and production of two-wheelers have reached nearly 70 per cent of the level before lockdown. Digital payment in retail has also reached the position before lockdown, he said.
Referring to the fight against the virus, Modi said, “This period will also be remembered for how we worked together, presenting the best example of cooperative federalism.”
In a word of caution, he said the slightest carelessness, laxity, lack of discipline will weaken all of the fight against coronavirus.
“We always have to keep in mind that the more we can stop coronavirus, the more it will stop growing, the more our economy will open, our offices will open, markets will open, transport will open, and so will new employment opportunities,” he said.
Modi said it is unimaginable to move out without a mask, and urged people to follow social distancing norms and wash hands regularly for at least 20 seconds.
Chief ministers of Punjab (Amarinder Singh), Tripura (Biplab Kumar Deb), Goa (Pramod Sawant) were among those who attended the virtual meet. Home minister Amit Shah also participated in the conference.
On Wednesday, the Prime Minister will interact with chief ministers of 15 states, including Maharashtra, West Bengal, Delhi, Karnataka, Gujarat, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, and the LG of Jammu and Kashmir. These are the states where coronavirus cases are on a much higher side.