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Covid-19: PM chairs meeting of the Council of Ministers via video-conference

He said it is imperative that the leaders communicate exhaustively with the state and district administration, especially in the districts which are hotspots for the pandemic, to be apprised of the ground situation and also provide solutions to the emerging problems. It is also important to ensure there is no crowding at PDS centres, maintain effective monitoring, take action on complaints and prevent black marketing and rise in prices of essentials, he said.

Prime Minister said that welfare of farmers is of high importance. He also said that the government would provide all possible help to farmers in the harvesting season. In this regard, he suggested harnessing technology and encouraging exploration of innovative solutions like using ‘truck aggregators’ to connect farmers with mandis, on the lines of app based cab services. He also underlined the need to devise a strategy to ensure procurement of tribal products so that the source of income source of the indigeneous tribal populace remains intact.

Prime Minister stressed on the importance of monitoring continuously and ensuring that the benefits of PM Garib Kalyan Yojana keep reaching the intended beneficiaries in a seamless manner. He added that planning should incorporate the possibility of further spread of the virus. There should be continuous monitoring to maintain timelines of production of essential medicines and protection equipment. Micro level-planning is essential to maintain supply lines and availability of essentials.

Stating that lockdown measures and social distancing must go hand in hand, Prime Minister said that it is essential to strategize for the emergent conditions once lockdown ends. He asked the Ministers to prepare a list of ten major decisions and ten priority areas of focus once lockdown ends, while exhorting them to identify and implement pending reforms in their Ministries. While mentioning that due to the emergent challenges, the country needs to lessen its dependence on other nations, he asked all departments to maintain an objective index on how their work will promote Make in India.

Talking about the impact of COVID-19 on the economy, Prime Minister said that the government must work on war-footing to mitigate the impact, adding that the Ministries should prepare a Business Continuity Plan. He noted that a graded plan to slowly open departments where hotspots aren’t existing should be made, adding that the crisis offers an opportunity to become self-dependent in the medical sector. Highlighting the impact on India’s exports, he asked the Ministers to submit actionable suggestions on boosting manufacturing and exports and ensure that new sectors and countries are added in India’s export net. Prime Minister also asked the Ministers to popularize the Aarogya Setu app in the rural areas and grass root institutions to further spread information and awareness about the pandemic.

The Ministers praised the initiative of #9pm9minute, saying that people from all corners of the country participated in it, bringing together the entire populace in the battle against the pandemic. They apprised the Prime Minister about efforts to tackle difficulties faced by migrant labour, preventing misuse of social media to create panic, maintenance of supply lines of essentials, issues faced by front line workers and efforts to mitigate them.

Top officials of the Government of India gave detailed presentations on steps being taken to meet the emerging challenges.

Union Ministers of Government of India, Principal Secretary, Cabinet Secretary and other senior officials of Government of India participated in the interaction.

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