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New Delhi, May 30, 2020
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today stated that India had dealt with the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic through collective strength and resilience, changing the way the world looked at the country, and acknowledged that many sections, including migrant workers, had gone through tremendous suffering.
"In a crisis of this magnitude, it can certainly not be claimed that no one suffered any inconvenience or discomfort. Labourers, migrant workers, artisans & craftsmen in small scale industries, hawkers and such fellow countrymen have undergone tremendous suffering," he said in an open letter to the people of India at the end of the first year of his second five-year term in office.
“We are working in a united and determined way to alleviate their troubles. However, we have to take care to ensure that inconveniences that we are facing do not turn into disasters. Hence, it is very important for every Indian to follow all rules and guidelines.
“Many feared that India will become a problem for the world when Corona hits India. But today, through sheer confidence and resilience, you have transformed the way the world looks at us. You have proven that the collective strength and potential of Indians is unparalleled compared even to the powerful and prosperous countries of the world," he said.
“Be it clapping and lighting a lamp to the honouring of Corona Warriors by India's armed forces, Janata curfew or by faithful adherence to rules during the nationwide lockdown, on every occasion you have shown that ‘Ek Bharat’ is the guarantee for ‘Shrestha Bharat’," he said.
Modi said that this happened at a time when, in contrast to the big powers' great economic resources and state-of-the-art healthcare systems, the country was besieged with problems amidst a vast population and limited resources.
“We have displayed patience so far and we should continue to do so. This is one of the important reasons for India being safer and in a better state than many other countries. This is a long battle but we have started traversing on the path of victory, and victory is our collective resolve,“ he added.
The Prime Minister recalled that, in the last few days, a super cyclone has wreaked havoc in parts of West Bengal and Odisha. Here too, the resilience of the people of these states is noteworthy. Their courage inspires the people of India, he said.
“At such a time, there is also a widespread debate on how the economies of various countries, including India’s, will recover. However, given the way India has surprised the world with its unity and resolve in the fight against coronavirus, there is a firm belief that we will also set an example in economic revival. In the economic domain, through their strength, 130 crore Indians can not only surprise the world but also inspire it.
“It is the need of the hour that we must become self-reliant. We have to move forward based on our own abilities, in our own way, and there is only one way to do it – Aatmanirbhar Bharat or Self-reliant India.
“The recent Rs 20 lakh crore package given for Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan is a major step in this direction. This initiative will usher in a new era of opportunities for every Indian, be it our farmers, workers, small entrepreneurs or youth associated with start ups,” he added.
Referring to the first anniversary of the second term of the BJP-led NDA government, Modi said, “This day last year began a golden chapter in the history of Indian democracy. It was after several decades that the people of the country voted back a full-term government with a full majority.
“During normal times, I would have been in your midst. However, the present circumstances do not permit that. That is why, I seek your blessings through this letter.
“Your affection, goodwill and active cooperation have given new energy, and inspiration. The way you have showcased the collective strength of democracy is a guiding light for the whole world,” he said.
Back in 2014, the people of the country voted for a substantive transformation. In the last five years, the nation saw how the administrative apparatus broke itself free of status quo and from the swamp of corruption as well as misgovernance. True to the spirit of ‘Antyodaya’ the lives of millions have been transformed, Modi said.
He said that, from 2014 to 2019, India’s stature rose significantly. The dignity of the poor was enhanced. The nation achieved financial inclusion, free gas and electricity connections, total sanitation coverage, and made progress towards ensuring ‘Housing for All.’
"India demonstrated its mettle through the surgical strike and air strike. At the same time, decades old demands such as OROP, One Nation One Tax- GST, better MSP for farmers were fulfilled.
"In 2019, the people of India voted not merely for continuity but also with a dream- of taking India to new heights. A dream of making India a global leader. The decisions taken in the last one year are directed at fulfilling this dream," he said.
"Today, 130 crore people feel involved and integrated in the development trajectory of the nation. The light of ‘Jan Shakti’ and ‘Rashtra Shakti’ has ignited the entire nation. Powered by the Mantra of ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas’ India is marching forward in all spheres.
"In the last one year, some of the decisions were widely discussed and remain etched in public discourse.
"The decision on Article 370 furthered the spirit of national unity and integration. The Ram Mandir judgment, delivered unanimously by the Honourable Supreme Court of India, brought an amicable end to a debate persisting for centuries. The barbaric practice of Triple Talaq has been confined to the dustbin of history. Amendment to the Citizenship Act was an expression of India’s compassion and spirit of inclusiveness," he said.
“But there have been many other decisions that have added momentum to the nation’s development trajectory.
"The creation of the post of the Chief of Defence Staff was a long pending reform that has improved coordination among the armed forces. At the same time, India has stepped up preparations for Mission Gaganyaan.
“Empowering the poor, farmers, women and youth has remained our priority,” he said.
"PM Kisan Samman Nidhi now includes all farmers. In just one year, more than Rupees 72,000 crore has been deposited in the accounts of over 9 crore 50 lakh farmers.
"The Jal Jeevan Mission will ensure supply of potable drinking water through piped connections to over 15 crore rural households.
"A huge campaign of free vaccination is being conducted for better health of our 50 crore livestock.
“For the first time in our country’s history, farmers, farm labourers, small shopkeepers and workers in unorganised sector are assured the provision of regular monthly pension of Rs. 3000 after the age of 60 years.
"Besides the facility of availing bank loans, a separate department has also been created for fishermen. Several other decisions have been taken to strengthen the fisheries sector. This will boost the blue economy.
"Similarly, it has been decided to constitute a Vyapari Kalyan Board for timely resolution of the problems of the traders. Higher quantum of financial assistance is being provided to more than 7 crore women attached to self help groups. Recently the loans without guarantee for self help groups has been doubled to 20 lakh from the earlier 10 lakh.
"Keeping in mind the education of tribal children, we have begun the construction of more than 400 new Ekalavya Model Residential Schools,"he said.
Modi said several people friendly laws have been ushered in during the last year. He said Parliament had broken the decades-old record in terms of productivity. As a result, whether it be the Consumer Protection Act, the amendment to Chit Fund Law or laws to provide more protection to women, children and Divyang (persons with disabilities), their passage in the Parliament was expedited, he said.
As a result of the policies and decisions of the government, the rural-urban gap is shrinking. For the first time, the number of rural Indians using internet is 10% more than the number of urban Indians, he added.