An Indian woman lights earthen lamps to mark the country's fight against the COVID-19 pandemic in Hyderabad on Sunday night. AP
Data reviewed by Reuters shows that northern India's power demand fell almost twice as steeply as in the south in response to Modi's lights-off plan, indicating the north — a traditional stronghold for Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party — was more enthusiastic in its support.
Modi had appealed to Indians to display solidarity amid the coronavirus crisis by turning off their lights for nine minutes at 2100 on Sunday and light candles, lamps and flashlights instead.
India's overall power demand plunged as much as 26.6% during the period to 85,799 megawatts, preliminary data released by the national grid operator showed.
"The drop in national demand by 32,000 megawatts shows a huge response of the nation to the call of the Prime Minister," federal Power Minister R.K. Singh said in a tweet.
But a deeper analysis showed that power demand fell as much as 30.6% in India's northern region, compared with a 17.1% fall in the southern region, data released by POSOCO showed.
Modi swept to power in May for a second term with a huge mandate in the federal elections held in 2019, but his party won very few seats in four of five southern states.
To be sure, the data shows a significant number of people in south India also responded to Modi's "lights off" call.
Safriz Ahamed, who lives in the southern town of Cumbum, said many in his mainly Muslim neighbourhood who lit lamps on Sunday had just weeks ago protested against the Modi government's Citizenship Amendment Act, which critics say is unfair to Muslims.
"It's not always a political statement, or blind hate," he said. "People wanted to show solidarity with a national cause yesterday, as we're all facing a tough time amid the lockdown."
The latest phase of these repatriation flights, known as the "Vande Bharat Mission," began on March 1 and will last till March 28. Slightly more than 1,350 international flights are scheduled to be operated from 28 countries in this phase, enabling an estimated 260,000 Indians to travel home.
The Health Ministry on Saturday put the total number of cases in India at 173,763 with 4,971 deaths. The total infections included 86,422 active cases and 82,369 recoveries.
Latin American countries are bracing for difficult weeks ahead as the disease spreads rapidly across the region, even as much of the world exits lockdowns that have wrecked economies and stripped millions of their jobs.
India has seen a jump of nearly 100,000 cases over the past week, the health ministry said. In all, the country has confirmed 548,318 cases, making it the world’s fourth-worst affected country after the United States, Brazil and Russia. India’s death toll has reached 16,475.
The Ministry stressed in a statement on Sunday that its aim to continue expanding the scope of testing nationwide to facilitate the early detection of coronavirus cases and carry out the necessary treatment.
Lebanon's economic crisis, which erupted in 2019, has propelled more than three quarters of the population into poverty and the local currency has plummeted by over 90%.
His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan Bin Muhammad Al Qasimi’s generous gesture reflects His Highness’s keenness to keep family cohesion and maintain its stability.