Narendra Modi Cabinet briefing at 4 pm today: As India begins 3-phase unlock plan, Centre set to discuss economy, COVID-19, LAC dispute with China

FP Staff

Prime Minister Narendra Modi reportedly will chair a meeting of the Union cabinet today as India enters first day of the three-phased unlocking plan. The meeting also assumes significance as it will be the first after the central government completed a year of its second term in office. The timing of the meeting has still not be specified. According to The Hindu, the Cabinet briefing was expected at 3 pm today.

However, according to the Press Information Bureau, the briefing will now take place at 4 pm.

According to NDTV, the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) is likely to meet on the backdrop of Chinese aggression along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh. Further, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) meeting will also be held today at Modi's residence at 7 Lok Kalyan Marg to discuss economic aspects of COVID-19 lockdown. "Historic decisions having a transformative impact are expected to be announced in the cabinet," Times Now quoted government sources as saying.

News18 quoted government sources saying that a decision could be taken to bring in a new law instead of Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) Act. An ordinance is likely to be brought in to enforce the law. Also, provisions could be made to facilitate easy inter-state travel for farmers to sell their produce.

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The definition of Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises could be changed to extend the time of investment and turnover. There could also be a decision to amend the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Act, 2006 (MSMED Act), News18 report said. According to media reports, an ordinance or executive order to enforce the "one nation, one market" policy to enable farmers to sell their produce to anyone and anywhere for a better price is likely to be approved by the Cabinet today.

After over two-month-long coronavirus-induced lockdown, India on Monday entered the first phase of three-phase unlock plan announced by the Union Ministry of home Affairs. The lockdown, however, will continue in containment zone for one more month, till June 30. The fourth phase of lockdown came to an end on Sunday.

State governments on Sunday came out with varied Unlock 1' guidelines including on allowing inter-state travel even as Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Telangana extended the lockdown till 30 June with several relaxations, a day after the Centre eased the 68-day shutdown curbs significantly with an economic focus.

As the Centre's three-phase unlock plan that will restrict curbs to containment zones kicks in from Monday after the end of the fourth phase of the national lockdown, Modi cautioned people against showing any laxity in the fight against COVID-19 and asked them to be "extra alert and careful", while acknowledging that the poor and labourers have been hit the hardest by the crisis. Becoming careless or lackadaisical cannot be an option .

The expanding lockdown relaxations came even as India registered its highest single-day spike of COVID-19 cases on Sunday with 8,380 new infections reported in the last 24 hours, taking the country's tally to 1,82,143, while the death toll rose by 193 to reach 5,164. The figures were based on the morning update released by the Union Health Ministry. According to a tally of COVID-19 cases reported from the states till evening, India with a total of 184,662 infections climbed to the eighth position among the top 10 affected countries surpassing Germany(183,302).

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