In unlock phase, focus on defeating coronavirus, boosting economy: PM

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‘India always emerge brighter and stronger, ensuring victory over disasters and challenges’

NEW DELHI, June 28 (PTI): The country will have to focus on defeating coronavirus and bolstering the economy as it exits from the lockdown and enters the “unlock” phase, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Sunday underscoring the need to keep guard against the deadly virus.

He also stressed that India has always transformed adversities into stepping stones to success and this year won’t be different.

“During this unlock period, one will have to focus on two points — defeating coronavirus and strengthening the economy,” Modi said in his monthly “Mann ki Baat” radio address. He said as people move out during the unlock period, they have to remain more vigilant compared to the lockdown period.

His remarks come against the backdrop of rising cases of coronavirus in some parts of the country.

“Always remember, if you do not wear a mask, do not observe the two-yard social distancing norms or do not take other precautions, you are putting others at risk besides yourselves, especially the elderly and children at home,” he cautioned.

Referring to the recent decisions taken by his government, Modi said during this unlock phase, “many other things are getting unlocked”, which had shackled the country for decades. He referred to reforms in the mining, space, agriculture and other sectors, saying these will not only pace up the movement towards self-reliant India, but also boost the advancement of technology in India.

On the various challenges thrown up during the year 2020, Modi said people often discuss as to when the year will end.

Referring to coronavirus, the prime minister said as if one calamity wasn’t enough, the country has had to face an unending slew of challenges.

“A few days ago, our east coast had to face the fury of cyclone Amphan; on the West coast it was cyclone Nisarg. In many states, farmers had to bear the brunt of swarming locust…many parts of the country have been witnessing intermittent earthquakes,” he said. In an apparent reference to China’s actions in east Ladakh, he said, “Amidst all these, the country has had to deal with the designs of some of our neighbours.”

Rare are the occasions when one gets to hear of adversities of this kind, that too simultaneously, he said. The prime minister was of the view that despite adversities, people should not consider 2020 as a bad year.

“Historically, India has always emerged brighter and stronger, ensuring victory over all kinds of disasters and challenges. For centuries, myriad tyrants invaded India pushing her to the edge of such an abyss of adversities that people once used to feel that the very idea, the fabric of Bharat would be wiped out: her culture would be annihilated. But India overcame the scourge, and more gloriously so,” he said.

India has always transformed adversities into stepping stones to success, he said, adding that this year will prove to be a “record setter, path breaker on new fronts for the country”. Referring to the onset of monsoon, the prime minister reminded people of their duty to help the earth rejuvenate by making some extra efforts.

“As human beings exploit natural resources, nature in a way, during rains, replenishes and restocks them,” he said. But this refilling is possible only if people support the earth and carry out their responsibilities.

“A little effort by us helps nature and environment quite significantly,” he said giving a few examples to drive home his point. He was also of the view that while children are studying online due to coronavirus, they should get rid of online games and go for traditional indoor games to strike a balance.

He said there is a novel and a strong opportunity for start-ups and even for the younger generation.

“Let us present the traditional indoor games of India in a new and attractive avatar. Those mobilizing the resources pertaining to these games, the suppliers and start-ups associated with these traditional indoor games will become very popular,” he said. He said Indian sports are also local, “and we have already pledged to be vocal for local.”

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