SRINAGAR: A day after the government announced a phased exit from the lockdown imposed since March 25, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Sunday urged people through his monthly radio programme Mann Ki Baat not to lower their guard against the pandemic and adhere to the protocols of social distancing, wearing masks and washing hands as the major chunk of the economy was opened up.
Referring to India’s fight against the coronavirus pandemic, PM Modi said with its diverse challenges and population, the country has been able to contain the spread of infection and the death toll is comparatively lower.
“Covid-19 is very much there and we cannot be complacent… The road ahead is a long one. We are fighting a pandemic about which little was previously known,” he said and added that though every section of society has been affected by the pandemic, the pain being felt by the poor cannot be measured in words.
He appreciated the efforts being made by individuals and organisations in helping those in need and said there is no section in the country that is unaffected by the difficulties caused by the pandemic.
“…However, the worst affected are the poor and the labourers. Their pain, their agony, and their ordeal can’t be expressed in words,” he said.
Even as there has been concern over the movement of migrant workers back to their native states because of limited means of transportation, PM Modi appreciated the efforts being made by the Indian Railways in helping get workers home.
He said the railway too has become a frontline worker in the fight against the pandemic.
“The Centre, states, local bodies are all working day and night. The way our railway forces are making efforts round-the-clock they are in a way front line corona warriors transporting safely millions of migrant labourers to their homes; arranging for their food, managing quarantine centres in every district and arrangements for testing and treatment for everyone. All these efforts are going on continuously and at a large scale,” he said and added the current situation should be a lesson to learn from the past and make provisions for the future.
In his speech, PM Modi reiterated his message of Atmanirbhar Bharat or self-reliant India and said many problems being faced now would not have arisen if the villages and towns were self-reliant.
“At some places work in skill mapping of the labourers is taking place, at some places start-ups are being encouraged, migration commission has been commissioned somewhere and the Centre will also help open up opportunities for employment self-employment and small scale industries in villages. These decisions are aimed at resolving the crisis and building a self-reliant India,” he said.
He urged people to explore the benefits of yoga and said several international leaders had shown interest in knowing more about Ayurveda and yoga.
“During this corona crisis I had a chance to speak to many world leaders I want to share one secret today, they expressed great interest in Yoga and Ayurveda. Some leaders enquired how these can help in these times of Corona,” he said.
“We have to explore yoga for community, immunity, and unity,” the PM said.
Pointing out that the International Yoga Day is around the corner, he said that during the lockdown people from Hollywood to Haridwar are paying attention to yoga.
With World Environment Day coming up on June 5, the PM said it is imperative to pay attention to the biodiversity and conservation of water.
“In some parts of eastern India, we witnessed the destruction caused by cyclone… I was in Odisha and West Bengal last week to take stock of the situation. The way people of West Bengal and Odisha showed courage in dealing with the situation is commendable. In this hour of crisis the country standing by the side of people of these two states” he said.
He said the lockdown has given an opportunity to understand the rich biodiversity around us.
“Clean environment is directly linked to our life and the future of our children and therefore we have to be concerned about it individually, I request you to plant some trees on this environment day,” he said.