BJP, RSS ask government to prepare for ease out

NEW DELHI: There may be a lot of uncertainty over how the 21-day lockdown will be eased after April 14, but the BJP-led states, RSS-affiliated unions and BJP are already chalking out strategies to ensure that the lifting of curbs will be done in a smooth and phased manner.

“When we look at the present situation, it (lockdown) is not likely to continue. When you compare India with other countries, the spread of the virus and number of deaths are still under control. I don’t think lockdown will be required,” Saji Narayanan, president, Bhartiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS), told ET. BMS is one the biggest trade unions affiliated to the RSS. “Definitely, some restrictions will have to be there. Within these constraints, economic activity has to continue,” Naraynan adds.

BJP is also working to find solutions. “We don’t know, as of now, whether the lockdown will be removed or not. However, the government has to think about restarting the cycle of the economy of course with certain constraints and limitations,” Gopal Krishna Agarwal, national BJP spokesperson for economic issues, told ET. BJP leaders are going to hold meetings with different stakeholders and prepare a report based on the suggestions given by them.

UP is thinking of easing restrictions in a phased manner, with CM Yogi Adityanath holding a video conference with the state MPs on Sunday. He sought suggestions on how to ease out the lockdown in a way it doesn’t turn into a chaos. Sources told ET that the state is thinking of restoring normalcy in districts which have no Covid-19 cases with some restrictions.

Meanwhile, the Karnataka government is likely to retain some restrictions in districts identified as Covid-19 hotspots such as Bengaluru Urban, Mysuru and Mangaluru. However, it is unlikely to permit industries, cinemas, and mass transport to operate. The government, however, may withdraw restrictions in districts free from Covid-19 cases.

Education minister S Suresh Kumar, who is also the spokesperson for Covid-19 in Karnataka, told ET: “There are no structured plans, as of now. Officials are discussing whether they should ease restrictions in phases or district-wise or sector-wise. I think we will get a reasonably good picture after a week or so.”

This is also the harvest time for the rabi crop and farmers nationwide are worried about their crops. “We had initially attracted the government’s attention to make agriculture activities free from the lockdown. The government has issued directions regarding the same,” Dinesh Kulkarni, organising secretary, Bhartiya Kisan Sangh (BKS), a farmer union affiliated with RSS, told ET. “Lockdown or not, the government should start foodgrain purchase centres because once the harvesting is done, farmers don’t have the storage capacity to hold their produce.”

Kulkarni suggests that to maintain social distancing, a large number of purchasing centres should be opened which would reduce the load on one centre. “Since the farmer has not sold his produce, the finance ministry should increase the limit of Kisan Credit Cards so that presently they could pay wages to labourers or harvesters,” adds Kulkarni.

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