A day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a nationwide 21-day lockdown, the government too tried to get adjusted to this very changed reality. While Mr. Modi himself held a meeting of his Cabinet trying to maintain appropriate social distance, his colleague, Home Minister Amit Shah, is said to have cancelled all appointments with people other than Ministry related, and that too, only if the issue cannot be resolved over the phone.
“He is at home, and only his live-in staff is there with him; everyone else has been asked to stay home. Officers who are required are only called in individually,” said a source.
Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari went to Nagpur (his constituency) on Tuesday just before all domestic flights were suspended. He continues to remain indoors at his home there, said an aide and had been holding conference calls and meetings over videoconferencing from his residence. “We don’t know when he will be back in Delhi, what with flights cancelled, but with technology we have been able to get him all the files, and getting them signed etc,” said a close aide.
Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan too had been holding videoconferences with honchos of oil marketing firms and LPG distribution networks to resolve distribution issues over the lockdown period till late night and while he did step into office on Wednesday, he is also likely to continue from home.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman too is largely working from home although she did attend a meeting of the Cabinet this morning. “A lot of the work is being done through video-conferencing and technology,” said a source.
A senior Minister told The Hindu that many in the Cabinet, including those holding very crucial posts, had serious conditions related to diabetes, and that they, if not the rest of the country, have taken the Prime Minister’s injunctions to heart.