India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 24 March 2020 on 8.00 pm while addressing nation, has imposed a nationwide lockdown in an attempt to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
To curb growth in infections, the central government had been working with the nation’s 36 states and territories to impose curfews and lockdowns.
- The restrictions came into force at midnight local time (18:30 GMT) and will be enforced for 21 days.
- PM quoted that, “There will be a total ban on venturing out of your homes”.
- He appealed to people not to panic.
- He added: “To save India, to save its every citizen, you, your family… every street, every neighbourhood is being put under lockdown.”
- Modi warned that if India does not “handle these 21 days well, then our country… will go backward by 21 years“.
- “This is a curfew,” he said. “We will have to pay the economic cost of this but [it] is the responsibility of everyone.”
- The PM added that draw a “Lakshman Rekha” at your doorstep and don’t let anyone step in for the next 21 days if not you will invite the virus into your homes.
- The government clarified that all essential services would continue to remain functional.
- The list of essential services that was issued for the ‘Janata Curfew’ of March 22 remains unchanged.
- PM said, “Pray for people who are working to sanitise your society and neighbourhoods, roads and public places to ensure complete eradication of the virus. You must also think about media persons who are working 24 hours, by staying on roads and going to hospitals, to give you correct info”.
- In his address, Prime Minister Modi also stated that:
1. Stressed that the 21-day lockdown was “very necessary to break the chain of coronavirus“
2. Emphasised the seriousness of the situation and said that even developed countries had faced problems in combating it
3. Said that “social distancing was the only way to stop” the virus spreading
4. Announced that nearly $2bn (£1.8bn) would be made available to boost the country’s health infrastructure
5. Called on people not to “spread rumours” and to follow instructions
- The new measures follow a sharp increase in cases in recent days.
- There have been 519 confirmed cases across India and 10 reported deaths.
- India – which has a population of 1.3bn – joins a growing list of countries that have imposed similar measures.
- Nearly 400,000 people have tested positive for the virus worldwide, and around 17,000 have died.
Impact on Economy:
- A complete halt to economic activity.
- The first two rounds of coronavirus outbreak have already wiped off Rs 52 lakh crore worth of equity investor wealth, with benchmarks Sensex and nifty languishing at multi-year lows after falling 35 percent from their January peaks.
- The first round of impact on India, where companies saw supply-side disruptions, owning to their over-dependence on Chinese imports.
- Sectors like autos and pharmaceuticals were impacted severely due to the shortage of imported components.
- FMCG firms such as Hindustan Unilever, ITC and Dabur India also shut manufacturing facilities, except for plants producing essentials, after the government announced partial lockdowns in some parts of the country.
- Foreign brokerage Morgan Stanley has cut India Inc.’s earnings for the third time since the virus outbreak.
Edited by J. Madonna Jephi
Approved & Published – Sakshi Raje
- The BBC Asia News Network.
- The New York Times.
- The CNBCTV.Com
- The Economic Times