Prime Minister Narendra Modi interacting with Sarpanches from across the country on the occasion of National Panchayati Raj Day 2020 through video-conferencing, in New Delhi on April 24, 2020.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi interacting with Sarpanches from across the country on the occasion of National Panchayati Raj Day 2020 through video-conferencing, in New Delhi on April 24, 2020.

Biggest lesson from COVID-19: Become self-reliant and self-sufficient, says Modi

New Delhi, April 24, 2020

Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said the biggest lesson to learn from the COVID-19 pandemic is to become self-reliant and self-sufficient.

Modi was interacting with Sarpanches of Gram Panchayats throughout the country through video conferencing on the occasion of National Panchayati Raj Day 2020. He also launched a unified e-GramSwaraj Portal and mobile application and Swamitva Scheme.

The e-GramSwaraj helps prepare and execute Gram Panchayat Development Plans. The portal will ensure real-time monitoring and accountability. It is a major step towards digitization down to the Gram Panchayat level.

The Swamitva scheme which is launched in pilot mode in 6 states helps to map rural inhabited lands using drones and latest survey methods. The scheme will ensure streamlined planning, revenue collection and provide clarity over property rights in rural areas.

It will open up avenues for applying for loans from financial institutions by the owners. Disputes related to the property would also be settled through the title deeds allotted through this scheme.

Addressing the sarpanches, the Prime Minister said, “This pandemic has thrown at us new challenges and problems which we have never imagined, but it also taught us a very good lesson with a strong message. It has taught us that we have to be self-reliant and self-sufficient. It has taught us that we should not look for solutions outside the country. This is the biggest lesson we have learnt.”

“Every village has to be self-sufficient enough to provide for its basic needs. Similarly, every district has to be self-sufficient at its level, every state has to be self-reliant at its level and the whole country has to be self-reliant at its level”, he said.

The Government was working hard in trying to provide self-sufficiency to villages and making the Gram Panchayats stronger. “In the last five years nearly 1.25 Lakh Panchayats have been connected through broadband from a mere 100 before. Similarly, the number of Common Service Centres had crossed 3 lakh,” he said.

Since mobile phones were being manufactured in India, smartphones became cheaper and the low-cost smartphones have reached every village and this would further strengthen the digital infrastructure at village level, he added.

The Prime Minister said the “progress of Panchayats will ensure the development of the nation and democracy”.

During his interaction with the Sarpanches, Modi complimented the villages for giving the mantra - 'Do Gaj Doori' to define social distancing in simpler terms.

Notwithstanding the limited resources at its disposal, India has taken the challenge proactively and showed its resolve to move forward with new energy and new ways. “The collective power of the villages is helping the country move forward,” he added.

“Amid these efforts, we have to remember that the negligence of anyone can endanger the whole village and therefore, there is no scope for relaxation,” he added.

The Prime Minister urged the Sarpanches to work towards the Swachhata campaign in the villages, to take care of the old, persons with disabilities and other needy in the villages, while ensuring quarantine, social distancing and covering the faces with masks.

He urged them to provide correct information to every family on various aspects of COVID-19.

He also appealed to people in rural India to download the Aarogya Setu app and asked Panchayat representatives to ensure that every person in their Panchayat downloads the app.

The Prime Minister said serious efforts are made to ensure that poor people of the village get the best healthcare. He said that Ayushman Bharat Yojana has emerged as a big relief for the poor of the village and nearly 1 crore poor patients have received free treatment in the hospital under this scheme.

He urged the use of digital platforms such as e-NAM and GEM portal to reach out to larger markets for better prices for village produce.

The Prime Minister interacted with Sarpanches from Jammu-Kashmir, Karnataka, Bihar, UP, Maharashtra, Punjab & Assam.

He referred to Mahatma Gandhi's conception of Swaraj as being based on Gram Swaraj. Quoting the Shastras, he reminded the people that the source of all strength is unity.


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