As speculations grow that the 21-day nationwide lockdown imposed by Prime Minister Modi to fight the menace of Wuhan coronavirus will be extended after it ends on 14th April, a survey conducted by Jan Ki Baat to gauge the public sentiment about the extension of the lockdown has concluded that an overwhelming majority of the country, both from the urban centres as well as rural areas, has come out in favour of extending the lockdown to ward off the threat posed by the coronavirus.
With a sample of 4000, picked randomly and representative of the demographic and age profile of the country, the survey has sought to study the pulse of the people to extend the lockdown as well as to establish perception about the effectiveness of the state-wise lockdown response among the people. In all, residents from 16 states have been surveyed. They are:- Madhya Pradesh, Delhi, Maharashtra, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Kerala, Gujarat, Punjab, West Bengal, Goa, Haryana, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Karnataka.
Respondents were asked with two questions- How their states have fared to the crisis of COVID-19 and What’s their opinion on the extension of lockdown. According to the responses received, a large majority of the sample size have advocated the extension of the lockdown. About 78 per cent people across the country favour the extension. While in urban areas, the percentage of those agreeing to extend the lockdown is manifestly higher at 82 per cent, given that urban centres are more susceptible to the virus because of large population and complications in executing social distancing measures. 74 per cent of the rural population think that it would be premature to relax restrictions and the fight against the coronavirus should be continued in earnest by extending the lockdown.
Amongst the states, Odisha leads the list with 90 per cent of the respondents from Odisha favouring the extension of lockdown. The lowest response is from Haryana where 60 per cent of the surveyees have asserted that they favour lockdown extension. Maharashtra, one of the states most ravaged by the coronavirus onslaught, has seen its 86 per cent of the respondents endorsing the lockdown extension. Another state, Kerala, where the cases of COVID-19 are surging alarmingly, only 70 per cent of the respondents are in favour of extension while remaining 30 per cent think that extension of lockdown is not necessary.
Odisha trumps all other states on the question about the satisfaction over the state-implemented measures during the lockdown. An astounding 85 per cent of the survey respondents from Odisha have claimed that they are highly satisfied with lockdown put into effect in their state. The lowest confidence among the respondents is from the state of West Bengal where only 38 per cent of the total surveyees have expressed their content with the government measures. It is pertinent to note that Odisha has been under a strict lockdown since PM Modi’s announcement of 21-day lockdown. On the other hand, West Bengal, whose TMC government has often been at loggerheads with the centre, had been lax in enforcing the lockdown in the state.
PM Modi met chief ministers of states and union territories today via video conferencing to review the nationwide lockdown amidst coronavirus outbreak and decide about the future state and extent of lockdown after April 14 when the lockdown ends. After discussing the revised strategy for the lockdown with the state and UT chief ministers, PM Modi is also scheduled to have a follow-up meeting in the Prime Minister Office with all the government of India’s stakeholders on April 12. Following this meeting, PM Modi is expected to announce the future state of the national lockdown. Although Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal has already thanked the prime minister for ‘extending the lockdown’.