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In favour of ‘modified lockdown’: Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot

JAIPUR: Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Sunday termed the withdrawal of the lockdown a major challenge, said that his government was in favour of a ‘modified lockdown’ in the state.

It, however, depends on the government of India, he added.

Gehlot said the state government was examining and exploring possibilities of something on the lines of a ‘modified lockdown’ at the local level.

“If the lockdown continues, we would see whether is it possible to create a situation at the local level which can be called a ‘modified lockdown’. This is my own thought and it depends on the government of India how far this can be executed.

“It depends on the government of India how far this can be executed. If possible, we would try for a modified lockdown,” Gehlot added.

The chief minister said the state government’s committee was brainstorming on the possibility of giving relaxations to industries in which internal resources like labour are available and to interstate transportation.

“Imposing a lockdown is easy but withdrawing it a big challenge. It will have to be withdrawn. If not after a period of 21 days, it will have to be withdrawn 15 days later.

“The economy will come on track when financial activities like opening shops, industries will take place and then only state and the centre will get revenues,” he told reporters at a briefing held via video-conferencing here.

The chief minister reiterated his demand of a stimulus package for the country to overcome the economic crisis.

He said the financial condition of the states has deteriorated and the Centre should announce a grant of Rs 1 lakh crore.

Gehlot also demanded to raise the limit of fiscal deficit from three per cent, as per the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act, to five per cent and other measures to help the states.

He said former finance minister Yashwant Sinha was of the opinion that more currency notes should be printed to tackle the current crisis.

“The financial conditions of states have weakened and there is a drastic decline in revenue collection.

We are doing good financial management in Rajasthan but the situation of any state may deteriorate in this difficult time therefore the centre should come forward to announce a package,” Gehlot said.

“The Centre has RBI and resources and it can print more currency notes. Former minister Yashwant Sinha has said that notes should be printed in this time of crisis,” he added.

Expressing concern on the rising number of COVID-19 patients in Jaipur, Gehlot said that it has become a challenge for the state government and all efforts were being made to contain the spread.

He, however, asserted that the situation was under control despite the rising number of cases.

The chief minister said the government has ordered 10 lakh rapid testing kits.

There has been no requirement of ventilators for the treatment of COVID-19 patients in the state so far, he added.

In Jaipur, he said, quarantine facilities have been set up in hostels and hotels, and possibilities were being explored to use stadiums as well.

On a question related with job security, the chief minister said industrialists should consider their staff as family members and see that they do not face difficulties.

He informed that apart from 10 lakh rapid testing kits, the state has ordered 1.5 lakh PPEs (Personal Protective Equipment).

Enforce containment measures ruthlessly: Gehlot tells officials 

Ashok Gehlot on Sunday asked officials to follow the government’s containment strategy ruthlessly and survey every house to identify people infected with COVID-19 as soon as possible to stop the further spread of the virus.

For this, he said, the ‘Bhilwara model’ of strict curfew and aggressive contact tracing can be followed.

No fresh case has been reported for a few days from the textile city, where the first case was detected on March 19 but massive screening and contact tracing helped it contain the outbreak.

On Sunday, Rajasthan reported 104 fresh cases, pushing the overall tally to 804.

In Bhilwara, 25 people infected with the virus have recovered and around 6,000 are in home quarantine, Gehlot said.

Discussing the emerging situation with senior district officials from his residence, he told them to take precautions but enforce the lockdown strictly and contain the virus ruthlessly.

He said district collectors should take the pandemic seriously and ensure survey of each and every house.

Chief Secretary DB Gupta warned people against taking photographs for self-promotion when distributing food and ration.

Additional Chief Secretary, Home, Rajeeva Swarup told officials that they should see to it that essential items are delivered to people who need them.

Additional Chief Secretary, Medical and Health, Rohit Kumar Singh said more than25,000 tests have been done in the state till Saturday evening and Rajasthan is placed second, after Maharashtra, in that regard.

“With an increase in number of tests, the number positive patients could also increase and in such situation we have to be prepared in advance,” he said.

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