19In what is seen as sensitising the citizens with a word of caution on Covid-19, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has called for ‘Janata Curfew’ on Sunday. Prime Minister also announced the creation of ‘Covid-19 Economic Response Task Force’ under the Union Finance Minister. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will meet the Ministers for Animal Husbandry, Dairy and Fisheries, Civil Aviation, MSMEs and Tourism on Friday to take feedback and assess the impact of Covid-19

Modi also asked businesses and high networth individual not to cut salary of their employees.

Stressing on resolve and restraint, while asking the citizens to follow ‘Janata Curfew’ from 7 am to 9 pm on Sunday, he said: “Our experience of Janata Curfew will help us chart the way ahead for tackling coronavirus in India”.

In a televised address to the nation, he further he added that no one apart from those involved with essential services such as health, government services, sanitation and media, are supposed to venture out of home.

Prime Minister said that there are many brave people who are in the forefront of fighting the Covid-19 pandemic such as medical staff, police, government servants, airline staff, media persons, bus/train/auto operators and those involved in providing home delivery. To pay respects to their huge service to the nation during such trying times, he suggested that on March 22 at 5 PM, all citizens should acknowledge and salute their efforts by standing in the balconies and at the doors of their houses and clap or ring bells for five minutes as a show of appreciation.

Task force

‘Covid-19 Economic Response Task Force’ will consult stakeholders, take feedback, on the basis of which decisions will be taken to meet the challenges, he said, adding that it will also ensure implementation of the decisions taken to meet these challenges. It is likely to meet on Friday for the first time.

Acknowledging that salaried class and daily wage earner suffering, Modi urged the business community and higher income groups to look after the economic needs of those from lower income groups, from whom they take various services, urging them not to cut their salary on the days they are unable to render the services due to inability to come to the workplace. He stressed on the importance of humanity during such times.

He also assured the countrymen that there would not be any shortage of essential items like food, milk, medicines etc. He urged people to not resort to panic buying. He exhorted everyone to work together and contribute fully to overcome the crisis of Covid-19. He said that during the time of such a global pandemic, it is important to ensure that ‘humanity wins and India wins’.

Opposition’s reaction

The Opposition parties pledged support for the Centre’s efforts to fight corona. They, however, urged the Narendra Modi Government to spell out proper plans clearly to tackle the crisis than mere symbolism. The Opposition Congress said it will support the efforts, including the janata curfew, proposed by the Centre to fight corona.