Even as India battles an alarming increase in daily Covid-19 cases, Prime Minister Narendra Modi tonight cautioned states against imposing of lockdowns, contending that both health and economy should be taken care of.
He also urged state governments to ensure wellbeing of the migrants so that they do not leave their workplace and return home due to the pandemic.
"We need to guard against lockdowns and states also need to understand that. Lockdown should be the last resort for states as we have to ensure that health and economy are both taken care of," he said in a televised address to the nation.
He said if all people follow Covid-19 protocols, there will be no need to impose lockdowns.
During the nearly 20-minute speech, the PM urged the youth to form local-level committees and help in Covid-appropriate behavour in their areas to ensure there is no need for lockdowns.
Modi's address came after India's Covid-19 tally breached the 15.3 million-mark with 259,170 fresh cases and 1,761 fatalities recorded in the last 24 hours.
He said the centre will take all steps to ensure that migrants are vaccinated in the states they reside in over the next few days and that their jobs will remain with them.
"I request the states to retain the trust of migrant workers and urge them to stay where they are," Modi said.
His remarks assume significance as exodus of lakhs of migrant labourers during a long lockdown last year had badly hit the Indian economy.