On Tuesday night Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi addressed the nation for the second time in as many days. The nation waited with anticipated breath as to what the PM would say. And the announcement did not surprise many. After having realized that the ability of Covid 19 to spread would be immense, especially in a country with a huge population like India, PM Modi announced that a 21-day lockdown.
In a way, the lockdown was inevitable. But it set off panic buying into the night, something we Indians are used to whenever something of this nature. The Union Government issued a detailed note which listed out the measures to keep the essential services going and also to ensure that day to day essentials are not in short supply. The state governments have been asked to ensure that the Public Distribution System reaches out, specially to the poor and downtrodden.
While the Kerala Government has announced free rations for all cardholders, the Uttar Pradesh Government has announced door to door delivery of essential commodities. The Union Govt has asked Chief Secretaries of all states to ensure that interstate movement of trucks carrying essential commodities including petroleum products go unhindered.
One major issue that flared up yesterday was when thousands of students and working professionals were literally on the streets after their hostels closed down. These youngsters then trooped out to different police stations across the twin cities demanding that they be given permission to go back to their home towns. That proved to be a disaster of sorts, as huge crowds threw all the caution to winds and social distancing went for a toss. Finally, the Director-General of Police had to ask the hostels not to shut-down and strict action would be taken against the erring establishments.
By evening, the DGP also ordered that online grocery delivery boys would be allowed to deliver from 6 am to 6 pm. The neighborhood Kirana shops has admirably to the occasion playing the bridge between big format stores and the final consumer. One thing that the country has learnt in this lockdown is to work from home, live frugally, speak to each other, catch up on quality family time, read books, listen to music and even learn to cook. But beyond that, we have to come to realise that we need not travel to work, need huge offices and go to malls or even eat expensive popcorn at movie theatres. Welcome to the New India.
#NarendraModi #Lockdown21 #ChineseVirus19 #CoronavirusOubreak
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