18:25 GMT17 April 2021
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    New Delhi (Sputnik): Opposition parties have been targeting the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government's "unplanned and sudden" lockdown, which was imposed to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. Now the lockdown has been extended for the third time, until 17 May , and parties demand clarity in the procedure for lifting it.

    Former Prime Minister of India Manmohan Singh on Wednesday questioned the Narendra Modi-led government on its strategies for the country after the lockdown is lifted.

    ​Addressing a meeting of the chief ministers of the states ruled by the opposition Congress party, Singh, an economist, said, “We need to know what will happen after lockdown 3.0."

    Congress party chief Sonia Gandhi, who was also present at the meeting along with former chief Rahul Gandhi, demanded that the Modi government makes clear the criteria it is using to judge how long lockdown will continue.

    “After 17 May, what? And after May 17, How? What criteria is the government using to judge how long the lockdown is to continue,” she said.

    Seeing a growth in the number of COVID-19 cases, India on 2 May extended the lockdown for the third time, until 17 May. The country has been under lockdown since 24 March.

    Other issues such as ensuring the safe travel of migrant workers to their hometowns was also discussed in the meeting. This comes after the party slammed the federal government for charging the often cash-strapped train fares from migrants and stated that it would pay for the migrant workers.

    Earlier, Congress had argued that the lockdown is not the only solution to COVID-19 and it is “futile” until the government expedites the scale of testing. It had warned the government of the massive job losses and food shortages that  are is likely to hit the country.

    “Lockdown may have been necessary, but the way it was implemented, it disrupted the lives of common man, several migrant labourers, who were compelled walk to walk back to their home states,” Sonia Gandhi had said.

    So far, India has recorded 49,391 COVID-19 positive cases with the growth in cases failing to decline even with the lockdown provisions in place. Nearly, 2,958 new cases were registered in the country in the last 24 hours. Meanwhile, 1,694 deaths have been recorded in the country due to the viral infection.



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