New Delhi: It’s a panic-like situation and authorities are confronted with a war-like situation across the country against the Covid19. The challenge to deal with the pandemic has grown manifold due to related problems like an economic crisis if there is a shutdown, shortage of oxygen and even the striking farmers maintaining unreasonable defiance. Nevertheless, political differences still loom large among key stakeholders.
However, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday thanked the centre for enhancing Delhi’s quota for oxygen.
“Central Govt. has increased Delhi’s quota of oxygen. We are very grateful to the centre for this,” he tweeted.
Delhi oxygen quota has been increased from 378 to 500 metric tonne, official sources said.
Leading brokerages have downgraded India’s GDP growth projections as Prime Minister Narendra Modi sought everyone’s cooperation to avoid a nationwide lockdown.
Several state governments are resorting to restrictions and lockdowns. The Delhi government announced a six-day lockdown on April 19, while the country’s most industrialized state, Maharashtra, has already imposed a curfew-like situation from April 14 to May 1. The state ministers are batting for a complete shutdown. “We are heading towards Lockdown,” said Maharashtra Minister Aslam Shaikh.
Prime Minister Modi in his televised national broadcast on April 20 urged citizens and state governments to avoid lockdowns. “We have to save the country from a lockdown,” the PM said in a 20-minute address while advising citizens to stay indoors if there is no urgency to go outside. Lockdown should be the last resort,” he said.
The Prime Minister asked young people and children to be careful so that family elders do not go outside unless there is an ‘urgent need’.
Although the Prime Minister aimed to give a “do not panic” message to the people, opposition is not inclined to endorse his optimism. “Our focus should be on micro-containment zones … We will take care of the economic health [of the country] as well as the health of the people,” said Modi.
Congress spokesman Ajoy Kumar was not convinced. “Contrary to what the prime minister has tried to say, there is every reason to panic. There is a panic-like situation everywhere, including in smaller states like Jharkhand,” he said.
Other Congress leaders also resort to blame games. So did Mamata Banerjee, West Bengal Chief Minister, who is locked in a fierce electoral contest against the BJP. The sixth round of polling in West Bengal will take place on Thursday, and after that two more phases. India reported 15.6 million coronavirus cases and 182,570 deaths as of April 21. Besides the crippled economy posing a serious challenge to the government, the pandemic has brought related impacts on other fronts.
The labour market has still not recovered from its 2020 shocks, especially in the context of unemployment, and the fear of fresh rounds of lockdowns in major cities and states. Even for white-collar jobs and those who can manage to work from home through the internet, there has been a drop in salaries, say IT, professionals.
With the surge in Covid-19 cases posing risks to economic recovery, leading brokerages have downgraded GDP growth projections. Nomura has cut its forecast of economic growth for the fiscal year ending March 2022 to 12.6 per cent from 13.5 per cent while UBS sees growth of only 10 per cent. On average 60 people died from the virus every hour on April 18 (Sunday) and the figure jumped to 67 deaths per hour on April 19 and 73 on April 20 (Tuesday).
The total death toll as of Wednesday morning jumped to 1,80,530 and a record 1761 new deaths.