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Most state’s chief ministers want lockdown to be extended: India’s home ministry sources

Union home minister Amit Shah (Photo: PTI). Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

NEW DELHI, May 30, 2020, The Asian Age. Union home minister Amit Shah on Friday met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and briefed him about the suggestions and feedback he got from all the chief ministers on the extension of the nationwide lockdown beyond May 31, officials said, The Asian Age reported.

Shah on Thursday had telephonic chats with the CMs as he sought to know the states’ areas of concern and the sectors they want to open up further from June 1.

Interestingly, till now, it was Modi who interacted with the CMs via video conference before each lockdown extension. This was the first time the home minister spoke to the CMs individually.

Home ministry sources said most CMs wanted the lockdown extended further but wanted greater autonomy for the states on formulating the guidelines on relaxations depending on the ground situation. The CMs, however, agreed that the Centre can set a broad policy framework.

The Centre is expected to announce its decision in the next two days, as the indications are the lockdown would be extended till June 15, but with greater relaxations. The sources said the partial opening of shopping malls, shopping complexes and religious places is likely to be permitted after June 1.

“Most CMs feel since they know the ground situation better, the decision on what economic activities can be allowed should be left to them,” a home ministry official said.

While extending the fourth phase of the lockdown till May 31, the Centre had announced continuation of the ban on opening of schools, colleges and malls, but allowed the opening of shops and markets. It said hotels, restaurants, cinema halls, malls, swimming pools and gyms would remain shut. All social, political, religious functions, and places of worship have also remained closed so far.

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