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New Delhi, May 31, 2020
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said people need to be more alert at a time when the countrywide lockdown was being lifted as the coronavirus (COVID-19) threat still remained.
Delivering his monthly address “Mann ki Baat” over All India Radio (AIR), the Prime Minister said, “The last time I spoke to you through ‘Mann Ki Baat', passenger train services, buses and flights had come to a standstill. This time around much has resumed -- Shramik special trains are operational; other special trains too have begun. With utmost precautions, flights have resumed; industry too is returning to normalcy; thus, opening up a major segment of the economy.
“In such a scenario, we need to be even more alert and careful. Whether it’s the mandatory two yards distancing, wearing face masks or staying at home to the best extent possible, there should be no laxity on our part in complete adherence,” he added.
“The battle against corona is being fiercely waged in the country through collective efforts. When we look at the world, we can actually experience the magnitude of the achievements of the people of India. Our population itself is many times that of most countries. The challenges facing the country too are of a different kind, yet corona did not spread as fast as it did in other countries of the world.
“The mortality rate of corona too is a lot less in our country. All of us deeply regret the loss that we had to undergo. But whatever we have been able to save is a result of the collective resolve of the country. In a country as big as ours, everyone is determined to put up a fight; the entire campaign is people-driven,” he added.
Modi commended the spirit of service at the time of the pandemic on the part of the doctors, nursing staff, sanitation workers, police personnel and media persons.
“There are innumerable other people who are willing to give their all in the service of others. One such is K C Mohan in Madurai, Tamil Nadu. A salon owner, he had saved up Rs five lakh for his daughter's education. But he spent the entire amount in the service of the needy and the underprivileged in these difficult times.
"Similarly, Gautam Das of Agartala whose only means of sustenance is plying a handcart is feeding the needy by buying rice and pulses out of savings from his daily earnings. A differently-abled person, Raju, in Punjab through a small investment raised with help from others got over 3,000 masks made and distributed them. In these difficult times, he has arranged for feeding of around a hundred families. Hundreds of Women Self Help Groups (SHGs) were also engaged in making masks in villages and towns across the country," he said.
Modi said there were also instances of small scale traders to start-ups and labs devising even new ways of fighting against coronavirus with novel innovations.
He mentioned Rajendra Yadav, a farmer in Satna village in Nasik who has devised a sanitization machine attached to his tractor and this innovation is performing very effectively. Many shopkeepers in order to adhere to the two-yard distancing have installed big pipes in their shops. Merchandise is released from one end and collected at the other end by the customer.
Meanwhile, teachers and students have come together with myriad innovations in the field of education. Online classes, video classes are being run in different ways, he said.
“Work being done in our labs on Corona vaccine is being keenly observed by the world and we are hopeful, too. In order to change circumstances, besides resolve, a lot depends on innovation too. The journey of the human race, spanning thousands of years has reached this modern phase on account of continuous innovation. Thus, these special innovations form the firm basis of our victory over the pandemic.
"Corona pandemic is a calamity, a scourge that does not have an antidote in the entire world. There is no prior experience on that. Amid this scenario, we are facing newer challenges and consequent hardships. This is the situation of every corona-affected country in the world- India is no exception.
“There is no stratum in our country unaffected by the difficulties caused by the affliction. The most gravely affected by the crisis are the underprivileged labourers and workers. Their agony, their pain, their ordeal cannot be expressed in words.
“Who amongst us cannot understand and feel what they and their families are going through! All of us are trying to share their distress; the torment…..the entire country is doing that. Our railway personnel are at it day and night. From the centre, states, to local governance bodies, everybody is toiling around the clock,” he said.
“The way our railwaymen are relentlessly engaged, they too are front line Corona Warriors. Safely transporting lakhs of labourers in trains and buses, caring for their food, arranging for their quarantine in every district, testing, check-up and treatment is an ongoing process on a very large scale.
Today, the distress our workforce is undergoing is representative of that of the country’s eastern region. The very region which possesses the capacity to be the country’s growth engine, whose workforce possesses the capability and the might to take the country to greater heights…the eastern region needs development. It is only the development of the eastern region that can lead to a balanced economic development of the country.
“And now, considering the migrant labourers, the need of the hour is devising a new solution - paradigm….we are ceaselessly taking steps in that direction. For example, at places skill mapping of labourers is being carried out; at other places, startups are engaged in doing the same…the establishment of a migration commission is being deliberated upon," he said.
Modi said that the recent decisions taken by the Central government had opened up vast possibilities of village employment, self-employment and small scale industry. The objective of these decisions is finding solutions to the situation, for the sake of a self-reliant India, he said.
?Had our villages, towns, districts and states been self-reliant, problems facing us would not have been of such a magnitude as is evident today. But moving from darkness toward light is a human trait. Amidst multiple challenges, it gives me joy to see extensive deliberation in the country on Aatmnirbhar Bharat, a self-reliant India. People now have begun to take it as a movement of their own. Our countrymen are picking up the reins of leadership of this mission in their own hands.
"Many people have mentioned the fact that they have made complete lists of the products being manufactured in their vicinity. These people are now buying only these local products, promoting 'Vocal for Local'. In order to encourage 'Make in India' everyone is expressing one’s own resolve," he said.
The Prime Minister said that, during his interactions with several world leaders during the ongoing coronavirus crisis, they had evinced a lot of interest in Yoga and Ayurveda. “Many leaders asked me if Yoga and Ayurveda could be of help in this calamitous period of Corona,” he added.
"With 'International Yoga Day' arriving soon and as 'Yoga' is getting integrated with people's lives, the awareness about their health, is also continuously on the rise among them," he said.
He said that, during the present pandemic, people from Haridwar to Hollywood are paying seirous attention to Yoga and want to know more about it and Ayurveda.
"Many people, who have never practised yoga, have either joined online yoga classes or are also learning yoga through online videos. Truly, 'Yoga' is good for community, immunity and unity!" he said.
He said that, during this pandemic, Yoga becomes all the more important, because the virus affects the respiratory system. “In yoga, there are many types of Pranayama that strengthen the respiratory system, the beneficial effects of which we have been witnessing for long. These are time tested techniques, which have their own distinct significance. "
“Most people will be familiar with 'Kapalbhati' and 'Anulom-Vilom Pranayam'. But there are many other forms of Pranayamas like 'Bhastrika', 'Sheetali', 'Bhramari' etc, which also have many benefits,” he added.
Referring to "Ayushman Bharat" scheme to meet the medical needs of the poor, he said it was launched about one and a half years ago to ameliorate this constant worry. A few days ago, the number of beneficiaries of the scheme crossed over one crore, he said.
“More than one crore patients implies that more than one crore families of our country have been served. Do you know what more than one crore patients means? It means the cumulative population of two Norways and two Singapores has been provided free treatment in such a short time,” he said.
If the poor had to pay for the treatment post-hospitalization, had they not received free treatment, according to a rough estimate, more than Rs 14,000 crores would have been required to be paid out of their own pockets.
He said that, an important feature with the "Ayushman Bharat" scheme is its portability facility. This portability of the scheme has also helped to paint the country in the colours of unity, which means, an underprivileged person from Bihar will get the same medical facility in Karnataka, which he would have got in his home state.
“Similarly, if a deprived person from Maharashtra is in need of medical treatment then he would get the same treatment facility in Tamil Nadu. Due to this scheme, the underprivileged in any area where the system of health is weak are able to seek the best medical treatment in any corner of the country,” he added.
"Almost 80% of the one crore beneficiaries hail from the rural areas. About 50% of these beneficiaries are our mothers and sisters and daughters. And most of these beneficiaries were suffering from diseases which could not be treated with standard medicines. Of these, 70% of people have had surgical intervention," the Prime Minister said.
He pointed out that, along with the coronavirus, parts of the country had to face the devastating Amphan cyclone in Odisha and West Bengal and a locust attack in North India.
“I went to take stock of the situation last week to Odisha and West Bengal. The courage and bravery with which the people of West Bengal and Odisha have faced the ordeal is commendable. In this hour of crisis, the country also stands in unison with the people of these two states in every manner," he said.
In the face of the locust attack, the Union Government, State Government, Agriculture Department or Administration, all are involved using modern techniques to not only help the farmers but also lessen the loss accruing due to this crisis, he added.