Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked chief ministers to stay alert and protect rural India during a video meeting to discuss a plan to manage the country after May 17, when a nationwide lockdown to contain the coronavirus is scheduled to end after its second extension.
Modi said that his government’s efforts were for everyone to stay where they were in the coronavirus, but certain decisions had to be changed because it was “human nature” to want to go home, multiple media reports said. Home Minister Amit Shah made opening remarks at the meeting.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee accused the Centre of discriminating between states during the coronavirus crises. "This is not the time to play politics. Nobody ever asks our opinion… Don't bulldoze the federal structure," NDTV.com quoted her as saying at the meeting.
The video meeting—the fifth on the coronavirus outbreak—started at 3 pm and is likely to go on "till proceedings continue", said government officials. Chief Ministers are likely to push for allowing economic activities to resume slowly, as the centre weighs a graded exit from the 54-day lockdown.
Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba chaired on Sunday a meeting with Chief Secretaries and Health Secretaries of all states and union territories to review the status of managing the disease’s outbreak. The government on Sunday allowed the Indian Railways to resume passenger trains, announcing a major relaxation in the lockdown that has shuttered economic activity in the country.
Analysts at Nomura, the international research and broking house, have lowered their GDP growth forecast for India to a negative 5 per cent / 5 per cent contraction y-o-y (from -0.5 per cent forecast earlier) for 2020, but raised it to 7.9 per cent (from 7.3 per cent forecast earlier) for 2021. Nomura has lowered India's FY21 GDP growth forecast to -5.2% vs -0.4% earlier.