Prime Minister Narendra Modi has asked all his ministers to prepare a list of 10 major decisions and 10 priority areas of focus once the 21-day nation-wide lockdown ends.

Meanwhile, he and all his Parliamentary colleagues will take a 30 per cent cut in salary for a year.

For the first time, the Prime Minister chaired the meetings first with Council of Ministers and then with the Cabinet through video conferencing facility. In the first meeting, he stated that lockdown measures and social distancing must go hand in hand as it is essential to strategise for the emergent conditions once the lockdown ends.

He asked the Ministers to prepare a list of ten major decisions and ten priority areas of focus once the lockdown ends, while exhorting them to identify and implement pending reforms in their Ministries. While stating that due to the emergent challenges, the country needs to lessen its dependence on other nations, he asked all departments to maintain an objective index on how their work will promote Make in India.

With 60-70 per cent business activity completely stopped and the global economy entering into recession, there is a fear that Indian economy, too, will be affected severely.

Considering this, the Prime Minister called for work on war-footing to mitigate the impact, adding that the ministries should prepare a Business Continuity Plan. He said that a graded plan to slowly open departments where hotspots aren’t existing should be made, adding that the crisis offers an opportunity to become self-dependent in the medical sector.

Highlighting the impact on India’s exports, he asked the ministers to submit actionable suggestions on boosting manufacturing and exports and ensure that new sectors and countries are added in India’s export net.

Stressing the importance of farmer welfare, he said that the government would provide all possible help to farmers in the harvesting season. In this regard, he suggested harnessing technology and encouraging exploration of innovative solutions like using ‘truck aggregators’ to connect farmers with mandis, on the lines of app-based cab services. He also underlined the need to devise a strategy to ensure procurement of tribal products so that the source of income of the indigenous tribal populace remains intact.

Cabinet decisions

Later, the Cabinet approved an Ordinance amending the Salary, Allowances and Pension of Members of Parliament Act, 1954 reducing allowances and pension by 30 per cent from April 1, 2020 for one year.

Union Information & Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar said that an ordinance will be promulgated for the cut. Money collected through this cut will be used in fight against Covid-19.

The Cabinet decided to suspend Member of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme for two years i.e. 2020-21 and 2021-22. This will enable release of ₹ 7,900 crore.


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