Narendra Modi's Mann ki Baat: COVID-19 is as fatal as it was in the beginning, says PM
On Sunday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his 67th Mann Ki Baat address, touched upon a wide variety of subjects ranging from Kargil Vijay Divas and COVID-19 to promoting the vocal for local initiative and offering commiserations and support to the flood victims in Assam and Bihar.
On Sunday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his 67th Mann Ki Baat address, touched upon a wide variety of subjects ranging from Kargil Vijay Diwas, COVID-19 situation in the country to promoting the vocal for local initiative.
As India's total cases stood at 13,85,522, with a spike of 48,661 cases over the past 24 hours, Modi warned the public against relaxing against the threat of the virus and reiterated the importance of wearing masks and maintaining social distancing.
"At many places, the virus is spreading fast. We need to be extra vigilant. We have to bear in mind that the virus is as fatal today as it was in the beginning. Which is why we have to be cautious," Modi said.
Modi also advised those feeling discomfort while wearing the masks to remember the burden and sacrifice of those in the front lines of the battle against the virus.
"There are times when masks cause inconvenience," Modi said. "When one feels like removing them from the face, especially during a conversation. When a mask is required the most, we tend to remove it. At such times when you feel your mask is bothering you and you want to remove it, remember our coronavirus warrors. Remember the doctors and nurses."
'Nobody can forget'
The Mann Ki Baat address, which coincided with the 21st anniversary of India's victory over Pakistan in the Kargil War, also saw the prime minister recalling how the armed forces had defeated an enemy "perched on mountain heights" and praised the soldiers' valour.
"On this day, we defeated Pakistan. We will never be able to forget this day. This war occurred at a time and situation nobody can forget. India wanted good relations with Pakistan, but that did not happen," Modi said.
The prime minister’s comments came as Indian and Chinese armies are locked in a stand-off in Ladakh.
Modi asked the public to visit www.gallantryaward.gov.in to read about the exploits and bravery of the Indian soldiers. Modi also played former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's message from Red Fort on Kargil, observing that it "resonates even today."
He said he too got an opportunity to visit Kargil and witness the gallantry of the jawans and described the day as “one of the most precious moments” of his life.
Referring to Independence Day celebrations this year, the prime minister said they come in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and would be very different.
Urging the youth to take a pledge of freedom from the pandemic this 15 August, Modi said, "Take a resolve for a self-reliant India, a resolve to learn and teach something new and a resolve to earnestly carry out our duties."
'Special attention to cleanliness'
Modi also expressed solidarity with all those affected by floods and heavy rainfall across India. The Centre, the state governments, local administrations, NDRF and social organisations are working to provide all possible assistance to those affected, he said.
One hundred and twenty three have died in the Assam floods till Sunday, with more than 26 lakh in 27 districts affected, as per a report in Shillong Times. The Centre had on 22 July announced that Rs 346 crore would be provided to the state under the Flood Program Management scheme.
"During this rainy season, there is a large part of the country that is grappling with floods. Many areas of states such as Bihar and Assam are having to deal with a series of difficulties due to floods. On the one hand, we have coronavirus and on the other, we have this challenge. In such a scenario, all Governments, NDRF teams, disaster response teams, Self-help groups are working in tande to provide relief and rescue in all possible ways. The whole country stands by those affected by this disaster," Modi said.
'Use Indian handicrafts'
The prime minister, who has pitched for the use of products manufactured in the country and in the past, renewed his "vocal for local" push by urging citizens to use Indian handloom and handicrafts as much as possible to benefit local artisans and weavers.
"The more the world knows about the richness and diversity of Indian handloom and handicrafts, the greater our local artisans and weavers will benefit," he added.
The prime minister also interacted with youngsters from various parts of the country who have recently cleared their board exams.
"There was a time when whether in sports or other sectors, most people were either from big cities or from famous families or from well-known schools or colleges. Now, the country is changing. Our youth are coming forward from villages, from small towns and from ordinary families," Modi said.
Universities and schools across the country have been closed since 16 March, when the Centre announced a nationwide classroom shutdown as one of the measures to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.
The lockdown was announced on 24 March and it came into effect the next day. While the government has eased several restrictions, schools and colleges continue to remain closed.
"New heights of success are being scaled. These people are moving forward in the midst of crises, fostering new dreams. We see something similar to this in the results of the board exams that have recently been announced," he added.
With inputs from PTI
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