On the ninth day of the 21 day lockdown with 2,200 cases reported, Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the nation at 9 am this morning. With the nation’s 1.3 billion people under lockdown, the PM took the stage to rally the nation to continue its fight against the “evil” coronavirus. The Prime Minister acknowledging the contribution of healthcare workers and public servants in the fight against the pandemic, also took note of the effect the lockdown was having on people specifically those from economically weaker sections of society.
The main highlight of the address was another call for solidarity among the people of the country. The PM asking the people for nine minutes of their time on the 5th of April this Sunday at 9pm and asking them to come out to their doors and balconies with a lit candle to show the coronavirus, “the power of light”.
This is a second mass show of solidarity called on by Prime Minister Modi since the outbreak of the pandemic. On 22nd March, people across the country came to their balconies, to beat together utensils or play instruments, to commemorate the success of Janata curfew and to appreciate the efforts of healthcare workers. However, that day also saw people coming on to the streets flouting social distancing rules, defeating the purpose of the Janata curfew. Keeping this in mind, the Prime Minister stressed upon maintaining social distancing and not gathering together in the streets.
The speech however did not address the concerns that most people share. With projections of economic downturn post the lockdown, millions facing the threat of unemployment, businesses incurring losses and the shortage of Personal Protective Equipment for the healthcare workers, the nation’s concerns just pile on. Today’s address did not throw light on any of these aspects, leaving millions concerned.
A Ministry of Home Affairs had via an order called for businesses to pay migrant workers without any reduction in their pay. This concerned the hundreds of businesses and industries who already are facing financial constraints. The PM’s failure to focus on these issues is open to criticism.
The Prime Minister also did not talk about the controversy revolving around the supply of Personal Protective Equipment to Serbia amid a shortage of the same in India. While the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare denied knowledge of such a consignment, the PM is yet to provide a statement on the same.
India so far have done a considerably good job in curtailing the spread of the virus and the credit goes not just to the central government but also to the various State governments. With 2 more weeks of lockdown to go, we could see more of these shows of solidarity but not concrete answers.
Tags : Coronavirus, Pandemic, Prime Minister, India