Amid the nationwide lockdown caused due to coronavirus, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy on Monday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, stressing the need to strike a "right balance" between steps to contain COVID-19 and remedies to protect the economy from unprecedented consequences.
The Chief Minister suggested that areas should be classified into red, orange and green zones based on the spread of the pandemic and restrictions imposed accordingly. "The limits on each zone should be as granular as possible, such as by ward, colony, radius, etc., so that the approach will ensure the risks are adequately mitigated and at the same time the adverse impact on the country's economy is minimised," he noted.
In his letter, Reddy reiterated that he would extend "wholehearted support" to the decisions taken by the central government "under your able guidance".
"These difficult times have made us realise that the unity of the country is of paramount importance in combating problems of any magnitude. The lockdown, however, has severely impacted the pace of economic growth by affecting demand in the country and causing supply disruptions. The wheels of the economy should walk, at the least, if not run," the chief minister said.
He said the opening of national highways and railways and allowing movement of goods will give a fillip to the industrial economy as lack of availability of transport has impacted the supply of inputs and severely hampered the supply of finished goods like cement, steel, etc., causing a major hindrance to industries.
On Saturday, Jagan Mohan Reddy assured his support if Prime Minister Narendra Modi decides to extend the lockdown. Prime Minister Narendra Modi interacted with chief ministers of all states on Saturday via video conference. The meeting's main agenda was to decide whether to extend the 21-day lockdown, which is ending on April 14. To check the spread of Coronavirus, PM Modi had on March 25 announced a 21-day nationwide lockdown.
During the course of the PM's interaction with chief ministers across the country, the Andhra Pradesh CM apprised him of the measures taken in the state and the impact of the lockdown on the farming activities in the state. Reddy pointed out that the state is largely agrarian contributing to 35 per cent of Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) and employing nearly 65 per cent of the workforce. He further apprehended that lakhs of farm-families stare at destitution if the present circumstances continued.
(With agencies input)