NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said there seems to be a consensus among states on the extension of lockdown by another two weeks and said the motto of the government earlier was 'jaan hai to jahaan hai' but now is 'jaan bhi jahaan bhi'.
The Prime Minister's thrust on 'jaan bhi and jahaan bhi' (life also, the world also), during his interaction with chief ministers through video conferencing, appears to be an indication of some relaxation in restrictions and a possibility of a wider economic stimulus package.
Three weeks ago in his address to the nation in which he announced 21-day lockdown in the country, the Prime Minister had talked of 'jaan hai toh jahan hai' stressing the urgent need to save lives.
The shift now is 'jaan bhi jahan bhi', indicating the government's desire that economic activity also gathers some pace in a manner that the fight to contain the coronavirus is not affected.
"'Jaan hai to jahan hai'. When I had addressed the nation I had said that to save life of every citizen, lockdown and social distancing are very important. Most of the people understood this and stayed at home," the Prime Minister said.
"'Jaan bhi and Jahan bhi' - a future where people care about both the aspects, follow their duties and abide by the directions of the government - this will be important for India's prosperous and healthy future," he added.
The chief ministers indicated that the central government will announce new guidelines for the next 15 days soon. "The Prime Minister told us that we must not compromise on lockdown and we are receiving suggestions for extending it for next 15 days. He said in next 1-2 days the Government of India will announce guidelines for next 15 days," Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa said after the meeting.
Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel suggested that permission should be given to carry out economic activities within the states and ban on the inter-state road, air and rail facilities should continue in view of COVID-19.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said that a decision has been taken to extend the lockdown. "PM has taken the correct decision to extend lockdown. Today, India's position is better than many developed countries because we started lockdown early. If it is stopped now, all gains would be lost. To consolidate, it is important to extend it," Kejriwal said in a tweet.
Odisha and Punjab have already taken a decision to extend the lockdown. Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh had said on Friday that the lockdown could not be indefinite and his government was also looking for ways to extricate the state from the restrictions and enable it to function as it battles coronavirus.
He had said a high-powered committee with several doctors, medical and other experts, was examining the situation and will soon submit its report on the lockdown exit strategy.
In his address to the nation on March 24, the Prime Minister had said that if the situation is not brought under control in the next three weeks, the country could go back 21 years and that several families would be devastated forever. He urged the people to do just one thing in the next 21 days - to stay inside their homes.
"India is at a stage where our current actions will determine how much we are able to minimize the impact of this disaster. It's time to consistently keep strengthening our resolve. It's time to exercise caution at every step. You have to remember that `jaan hai toh jahaan hai'. This is the time for patience and discipline. Until the lockdown situation remains, we must keep our resolve, we must keep our promise" he had said.