High-decibel chorus for national lockdown fails to sway Modi

Summary

  • India’s industry has seen growing voices in favour of nationwide lockdown.
  • However, Indian PM Modi has been resisting such calls.
  • Economic impact would be devastating if national lockdown is imposed, suggest experts.
  • On Tuesday, India recorded the highest number of daily COVID-19 deaths.

The calls for nationwide lockdown in India have gained momentum as surging COVID-19 cases and deaths have shattered the country and crippled its health care system. However, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi seems to be looking the other way and has been resisting the calls.

The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) -- a pan-India trader association – had on Monday urged Mr Modi to impose a nationwide lockdown with immediate effect in a bid to break the chain of fresh infections of deadly Covid-19 virus.

But the bigger endorsement came from one of the world’s richest bankers – Uday Kotak of Kotak Mahindra Bank (NSE: KOTAKBANK) – who urged the industry “to curtail all non-essential economic activity requiring physical presence of employees at the workplace, for the next two weeks.”

One of the most sought-after voices from India Inc, and the head of the industry body Confederation of Indian Industries (CII), Mr Kotak also suggested that the government should rope in the country’s armed forces for help in curbing the virus.

Even as the industry has taken a complete U-turn from its April stand – when it did not favour lockdown – the Indian Prime Minister is seen sticking to his earlier anti-lockdown stance.

Two weeks back, in an address to the nation, Mr Modi had urged provincial governments to use lockdown “as the last option.” He had also urged states to focus on hyper-localised containment of the virus.

However, as COVID-19 spiked, two major states – Maharashtra and Karnataka – along with national capital New Delhi, decided to go on state-wide lockdowns.

If the country goes for a full lockdown at this stage, the experts suggest that it would cause more of economic misery than easing the second wave of COVID-19 pandemic.

Also Read: Unemployment In Urban India Nearing Hit Double-Digit Mark As COVID-19 Crisis Deepens

The virus has gripped even the tier III towns in India this time, unlike the first wave when it was mainly affecting the urban centres in the country. Many critics hold Mr Modi and his party Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) liable for the virus, as the government continued with superspreader events such as Kumbh Mela – a once in 12 years pilgrimage – and cheering huge crowds in the provincial election of West Bengal.

Even as the Kumbh Mela is supposed to be held every 12 years, but this time the pilgrimage was held after 11 years only as the Centre and the state governments seemed to appease astrologers by advancing it one .

Meanwhile, after a hiatus of three days, the daily COVID-19 cases and fatalities again spiked on Monday. The country reported 382,691 fresh infections on Tuesday – making up half of the global infections. The country also reported 3,786 fatalities on Tuesday – a grim single day record.

Also Read: COVID-19’s deadliest week kills over 93K globally, India remains worst-hit

As 226,169 Indian citizens have succumbed to the virus, many experts suggest that it has been the most fatal event in the country after 1943 Bengal Famine – which left 3 million people in Bengal (making 5% of its population) dead.


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