Acknowledging that India’s fight against the coronavirus [COVID-19] is people-driven, Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked citizens to ‘remain careful and not lower their guard against the pandemic on the assumption that it will not affect them.’
Addressing his monthly radio broadcast, Mann Ki Baat, exactly a week before the second phase of the nationwide lockdown is supposed to end on May 3, the Prime Minister stressed on strictly following social distancing protocols, not spitting in public places, wearing masks or covering faces with gamchas [towel] while stepping out.
Though he didn’t give any indication about the government’s thinking with regard to the current lockdown, Mr. Modi did express the hope that “the world may be able to somewhat free itself from the virus by the time Id is celebrated”.
“Do gaj doori, bahut hain zaroori [Two metres distance is very essential],” the Prime Minister said while explaining the need to follow COVID-19 protocols.
“I would like to appeal that don’t ever get caught in this overconfidence that our city, our village, our lane, our office has not seen corona so far and that’s why it wont affect us. Don’t ever entertain such a wrong notion,” Mr. Modi said.
Quoting ancient Indian knowledge, the Prime Minister said, “If you take a small fire, loan or a disease lightly, it will strike back the moment it gets an opportunity… So, there should not be any carelessness at any local place because of over enthusiasm. We need to be always careful.”
“India’s fight against the coronavirus is people-driven in the truest sense of the term. Along with people, government and administration are fighting it as well. This is the only way we can win over the virus…Every Indian is a solder in this fight,” Mr. Modi said, while noting that everyone is contributing as per their means.
The Prime Minister also asserted that India’s decision to supply medicines to countries including the developed ones to fight the COVID-19 pandemic was guided by its ethos and said he felt very proud when world leaders thank India and her people for the assistance.
He stressed that people across the world are paying special attention to the importance of Ayurveda and yoga amid the COVID-19 pandemic and urged people to follow the coronavirus-related protocol issued by the Ayush Ministry to boost immunity.
In his over 30-minute address, Mr. Modi lauded the contribution of State governments for playing an ‘active role’ in the fight against the pandemic. The Prime Minister also recounted efforts of the aviation industry to operate special flights and the Railways in running parcel trains for the movement of medicines and essential goods.
Mr. Modi informed the citizens that the government had launched a digital platform — covidwarriors.gov.in — that has connected voluntary organisations, volunteers and civil society representatives, health workers and professionals from different field with the district administrations that prepare crisis management plans at the local level.
Mr. Modi said the current crisis has also brought about far reaching changes as businesses, offices, education institutes or the medical sector were adapting to new technology and innovation.
It has also changed the people’s perception about their social surroundings as there is more appreciation for domestic workers, delivery persons, workmen in wholesale markets, the neighbourhood auto driver and rickshaw puller, and sanitation workers among others.
Mr. Modi said a common man’s negative perception about the police force has changed as they are engaged in a range of activities: from delivering medicines to offering food to the poor.
Reminding listeners that his radio broadcast coincided with the auspicious Akshay Tritiya and 12th century saint Lord Basavanna’s Jayanti, Mr. Modi thanked citizens and community leaders for showing great restraint in celebrating festivals.
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