Lockdown 4.0 will be different from the previous ones, says PM Modi

PM Modi said there may be more relaxations, people will have to continue taking precautions including wearing masks and social distancing

Lockdown 4.0 will be different from the previous ones, says PM Modi

NEW DELHI : Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday hinted at a continuation of the lockdown India has been under for several weeks but added that the coming phase would be “totally different" from the previous phases, the contours of which will be decided based on the suggestions given by states.

In his 33 minutes speech, the fifth since March, Modi said that while there may be more relaxations, people will have to continue taking precautions including wearing masks and social distancing.

Modi’s comments come as the third phase of lockdown is scheduled to end on 17 May. India has been under a lockdown since 25 March. While there was a complete lockdown across the country in the first phase, the subsequent phases have had certain relaxations including the opening up of offices with limited capacity, delivery of non-essential goods in orange and green zones.

The structure of the next phase of lockdown will also be decided in consultation with states. Given that the prime minister spoke of reviving the economy and making India self reliant, Lockdown 4.0 could bring in more easing of strictures in areas that are not considered hotspots.

“So Lockdown 4.0 will be in a complete different form. It will be with new rules. With the imputs that we are getting from the states, we will be making known the new information on lockdown 4 before 18 May. I am confident that obeying all the rules we will be fighting corona and and moving forward," PM Modi said.

“There is a saying that goes like what is in our power, what is in our control gives us happiness. Self reliance besides making us happy empowers us too. Our responsibility to make 21st century India's century will only be complete by the pledge of making India self reliant," he added.

In a meeting with chief ministers on Monday, Modi has asked for suggestions from states. States have been asked to submit their suggestions by 15 May. While some states had asked for powers to start economic activities in zones that are considered relatively free from the virus, others had advised caution on the restarting of train and air services. On Tuesday, Modi said that the structure of the next phase will be conveyed before 18 May.

"While several experts have said that the virus is going to be around for a long time, it is also important to ensure that our life does-not revolve only around it," the prime minister said.

He exhorted people to work towards their targets while taking precautions like wearing masks and maintaining ‘do gaz doori’ (two feet distance).

“All expert and scientists say corona will stay part of our lives for a long time. But we can’t allow ourselves to be limited by the challenge of the covid-19. We will have to wear a mask, we will have to maintain social distancing but we will not allow our goals to be affected by this," he said.

Standalone shops were allowed to open and the go ahead for limited amount of construction activity, harvesting of crops, work under the rural employment guarantee scheme given in recent times as the government tried to slowly ease up on the stringent lockdown measures in place since 25 March.

Having extended the nationwide lockdown by another 2 weeks from 4 May, the Centre had given relaxations for the movement of people in the third phase. Having divided the district into three zones - red, orange and green, the government had announced various relaxations.

In orange and green zones, taxis and cab aggregators were permitted, with one driver and two passengers only. Inter-district movement of individuals and vehicles is allowed, only for permitted activities, with maximum two passengers, besides the driver, in four wheeler vehicles.

The ministry also said movement for non-essential purposes are allowed except between 7pm and 7am, and that domestic helps can also resume work subject to permission from the RWA and provided employers arrange for transportation.

Liquor, pan and gutka stores can reopen and sale of non-essentials by e-commerce firms was allowed in orange and green zones.