How PM Narendra Modi has led the battle of Covid-19 – analysis
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is credited with the fact that he was probably the first political leader to understand the importance of social media and capitalize on it for the benefit of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the 2014 elections. He has continued to use this tool. to motivate citizens, while also using the radio through “Mann Ki Baat”.
I can guarantee that it was PM Modi who was again able to feel the danger of the coronavirus pandemic in December, when China became infected. There was, at that time, no case in India. But the prime minister, after every cabinet meeting, used to tell us that the virus and infection will not stop in China. He used to emphasize his seriousness, saying that it will spread everywhere and that everyone is unprepared. And, therefore, his emphasis was on how India needs to prepare.
India started screening incoming international passengers early. Travelers suspected of being infected were held in a facility at the Ministry of Internal Affairs in Manesar. It was then that we realized how serious the situation could be. From that day on, the Prime Minister began to implement his plans to prepare India to fight the pandemic. Here are some important changes you brought about with your forecast.
There was no concept of dedicated Covid-19 hospitals. Today, we have nearly 700 Covid-19 dedicated hospitals with more than 200,000 isolation beds and 15,000 intensive care unit beds.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is vital to save the doctors and staff who treat Covid-19 patients. India had no facilities to manufacture them. Initially, important orders were issued for imports. Now, we have 39 factories in India that manufacture and sew PPE. More than 2.2 million PPE kits have already been distributed.
We weren’t making masks, just N95. But six million masks have already been distributed. While many new factories have started working with N95 masks, small units have started preparing and sewing homemade masks.
We only had a laboratory to evaluate. That was in Pune. Our testing capacity was only 4,000 per day. There are now almost 300 labs to test Covid-19 and give results. We can now perform more than 80,000 tests a day.
Initially, there were only around 8,400 fans. With initial orders, we now have nearly 30,000 fans. Indian manufacturers have started producing fans. We expect around 30,000 fans to be produced in the country.
While leading the preparations, PM Modi, simultaneously, remained connected to the world, spoke to various leaders, and shared experiences, learning from each other, and implementing what he found useful and appropriate for the Indian context.
PM Modi also recognized the impact of the blockade. Therefore, he declared a large package of Rs 1.7 lakh crore to protect the poor. India has the world’s largest food security program whereby 800 million people receive five kg of wheat / rice at Rs 2/3 per kg. For April, May and June, the Prime Minister decided to give 15 kg of rice / wheat plus three kg of dal at no cost, per person. This took care of the basic rations for all vulnerable Indian households.
Around 200 million women from low-income groups received support through the direct benefit transfer scheme of Rs 500 per month for three months on their Jan Dhan accounts. In addition, under the PM-Kisan scheme, 2,000 rupees were transferred to 84 million farmers; 80 million beneficiaries of the Ujwala LPG scheme were offered three cylinders at no cost. The prime minister also offered the possibility to withdraw from the provident funds and nearly a million workers have withdrawn almost 36 crore.
The Prime Minister also provided assistance to small businesses and workers by promising that the government will deposit the contribution from the owner and worker provident fund for three months. The Reserve Bank of India has also released liquidity of Rs 4 lakh crore through various measures in repurchase rates. The middle class was given the opportunity to defer EMI and other mandatory filings. The Center awarded Rs 15,000 crore for the dedicated treatment of Covid-19 and launched Rs 11,000 crore as the State Disaster Relief Fund (SDRF). In addition, Rs 31 billion rupees was also released to help construction workers and all states were asked to distribute this as soon as possible.
The prime minister also ensured the large-scale operation of agricultural activities, from farm to market, by facilitating faster movement, more planting, and payment of money to farmers as soon as possible. This ensured that the agricultural economy began to function normally.
A national blockade is a massive decision. It can never be successful until people voluntarily participate. The Prime Minister has maintained a continuous dialogue with the people, even the poorest of the poor are convinced that the Prime Minister is working for them and cares about them. That is why it could psychologically prepare them for the long confinement, suspension of activities, and resulting difficulties. The curfew of the people and their call to applaud frontline and health workers helped motivate people to fight Covid-19 and instill discipline in them.
The Prime Minister also took four simple steps to stay safe: put on a mask, wash your hands regularly, maintain social distance, and stay home. Citizens have largely complied with this.
All of this shows that PM Modi planned ahead, planned in detail, practiced meticulously, communicated effectively, and kept the world in the know. India, therefore, has managed to manage the coronavirus crisis better than many other advanced economies.
Prakash Javadekar is Minister of Information and Dissemination.
The opinions expressed are personal.