Modi bets on ‘carrot & stick’ formula & 7-Mantras to make Lockdown 2.0 a success

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New Delhi, April 14 (IANS) Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday announced Lockdown 2.0 that will extend the present shutdown till May 3. In his address to the nation he offered the states — a chance — “you will be monitored till April 20 and conditional reprieve may be given on how well you perform”.
“The fight against Corona will be more strictly enforced in the next one week. By 20 April, every town, every police station, every district, every state will be evaluated on how well lockdown is being followed or which areas have been able to protect itself from Corona,” he told the States through his address to the nation, getting a sense of competition.
This assumes significance in the backdrop of multiple videos of violation from across India emerging on social media. In fact, the Home Ministry has already sent two warnings to the West Bengal government for not seriously enforcing the shutdown where it alleged religious congregations to assembly at market places in few areas of Kolkata were being allowed by the Mamata Banerjee government.
Modi dangled out the carrot, “Areas that will succeed in this litmus test — will not be in the hotspots and will be less likely to turn into a hotspot…there can be some necessary activities allowed from April 20.”
Calling it an “Agni pariksha”, the Prime Minister said India has fared way better because of the ongoing shutdown that was scheduled to end on Tuesday night but now stands extended.
Modi argued, there is no alternative to strict adherence to social distancing norms which can be attained through staying indoors. He even invoked Ambedkar, Tuesday being his birthday and the iconic phrase of the Indian constitution he wrote – “We the People” to stress that its a common fight and needs to be won together. As of Tuesday morning, India has 8,988 active corona cases and 339 related deaths.
The Prime Minister added that by Wednesday, a detailed guideline will be issued by the Centre. Making a case for an unified fight, he added that the Centre and the states are working in tandem to lessen difficulty. He assured there are enough food grains in stock for India, and there was no need to worry.
He asserted while India testing more suspected Corona patients have significantly gone up, it has simultaneously ramped up its corona infrastructure. “We have one lakh beds and there are 6,000 hospitals only for corona-infected patients,” claimed the Prime Minister.
Making a global comparison to suggest how strict and early measures helped India arrest the surge, Modi said: “India started screening at airports even before we had one corona positive patient in India. Even though we had 550 cases, India took a big decision to completely shutdown India. We didn’t wait for the problem to erupt.”
He concluded his address to the nation, which went on predictable lines, with ‘7 Mantras as India is maneuvering through a difficult phase where it has to choose between life and livelihood. Modi put the debate to rest on Tuesday by saying, saving lives is more important than acknowledging its economic consequences. However, to make the impact bearable, PM Modi urged all to feed the hungry, look after the ailing and old and appealed to employers against pay cuts or laying off during this “difficult time”.
While he himself appeared wearing a homemade mask, he urged all Indians to wear one as well. As India continues to report bizarre incidents where doctors or police personnel are being targeted, sometimes in the most brutal way, as it recently happened in Punjab, PM appealed to respect the coronawarriors, for whom he earlier had urged Indians to clap and light candles for.
As Modi finished his nearly 25 minutes address to the nation, the bottomline was simple – Get rewarded for not creating more hotspots and be empathetic at this hour of economic difficulty.