The Cabinet meeting was held at the prime minister's official residence at 7, Lok Kalyan Marg in New Delhi. (Photo Credit: Sourced)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi set an example of social distancing during the Union Cabinet meeting on Wednesday. Amid the coronavirus lockdown, the top ministers were seen sitting at a distance from each other during the meeting. As soon as the photo surfaced online, people were hailing the prime minister for walking the talk. Social distancing is the only way to stay away from harm's way. Unlike usual days, when the Cabinet members sit around an oval table during meeting, on Wednesday, all ministers sat at a distance minus the table. The Cabinet meeting was held at the prime minister's official residence at 7, Lok Kalyan Marg in New Delhi.
It was this logic that the PM had stressed on while announcing the 21-day lockdown that came into force from March 25 at 12 am. Elsewhere across the nation, squares and circles were drawn on the ground, roads and outside shops to implement social distancing among the thin crowd that had ventured out to buy essential items. During the national broadcast, the PM said that the lockdown was for citizens' safety and their lives. "No matter what happens, we must stay at home. From Prime Minister to someone living in the village, entire country must adhere to corona lockdown," PM Modi said. "Practice patience and discipline - jaan hai to jahaan hai," PM Modi said as he appealed to the citizens on this country. He asked people to think about those doctors, nurses, paramedical staff, pathologists who are risking their lives. (Coronavirus Outbreak Live Updates)
On Tuesday, the Narendra Modi government invoked the National Disaster Management Act, 2005 to impose 21-day lockdown across the in the mega battle to fight coronavirus pandemic. The Act calls for the establishment of National Disaster Management Authority with the Prime Minister of India as chairperson. The NDMA is responsible for "laying down the policies, plans and guidelines for disaster management" and to ensure "timely and effective response to the disaster".
Principal secretary Nipendra Mishra and Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba reportedly spoke to state chief secretaries and DGPs to chalk out the functional aspect of the lockdown. "The Ministries/ Departments of Government of India and State Governments/Union Territory Administrations, have been directed to ensure strict implementation of these Orders," a Union Home Ministry statement said adding it will also monitor the implementation of these measures.
"Experts, keeping in view the global experiences of countries which have been successful in containing the spread of COVID-19 unlike some others where thousands of people died, have recommended that effective measures for social distancing should be taken to contain the spread of this pandemic," the home ministry said to state the need of such a lockdown in the country. Under the lockdown, following services that have been deemed essential will no be affected.
They are hospitals, labs, ambulances, ration shops, fruit and vegetable selling points, banks, ATMs, print and electronic media, internet and cable services, e-commerce, petrol pumps, LPG outlets, warehousing services among others. Any person violating these measures will be liable to be proceeded against as per the provisions of Section 51 to 60 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, besides legal action under Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code, the home ministry statement said.