In his address to the nation on Tuesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, he was worried over rising negligence by people since the day Unlock-1 phase was introduced. This has been borne out by figures. In just one month (June) alone, India recorded 4 lakh new COVID-19 cases and nearly 12,000 deaths, whereas in May, the number of new cases was just over 1.5 lakh and there were 4,267 deaths.
The pandemic has taken a firm grip over our metros and big states and is showing no signs of abating. The daily average addition of new cases has crossed 18,000, and the total number of Corona cases in India, which is presently at 5.67 lakhs, is sure to cross the six lakh mark in a few days.
Surely, a dismal picture. However, the figures also show that 3.35 lakh people have recovered so far and the death toll is at 16,893.
It was in this context that the Prime Minister said that many people have started becoming negligent towards precautions for COVID-19.
He appealed to citizens not to be careless, follow the mantra of ‘do gaz ki doori’ (social distancing), always wear masks, or gamcha or face cover, and wash hands for 20 seconds.
Modi said, the law for use of masks and norms of social distancing must apply equally to a gram pradhan or the prime minister.
He cautioned that during the present rainy monsoon season, cases of common cold, cough and flu increase and this could bring about a further spike in the number of COVID cases.
Modi announced an extension of free ration to 80 crore poor people till November this year. Under the Pradhan Mantri Gareeb Kalyan Anna Yojana, five kg of foodgrains and one kg of pulses will be given free to beneficiaries for another five months.
This will cost around Rs 90,000 crore taking the overall cost to Rs 1.5 lakh crore.
“Today, if the government is able to provide free ration to the needy and poor, the credit for it goes to two categories. One, hard-working farmers of our country, and Two, honest taxpayers of our country”, Modi said.
Modi’s announcement is, no doubt, a welcome step for millions of poor Indians. He has also promised to introduce ‘One Nation, One Ration Card’ which will benefit millions of migrant workers.
Feeding 80 crore poor Indians free for eight months is not an easy task.
Just add up the populations of three countries like the USA, and you will reach the figure of 80 crore. Modi government has been and will be feeding these 80 crore people for eight months.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi surely deserves accolades for this. He understands the problems of poor people and migrant workers, who move to other states in search of a job.
Most of the political parties have welcomed Modi’s announcement, but it is also time for the common citizens to be careful so that pandemic is brought under control.
There has been a steep rise in the number of new COVID cases during the Unlock period and the tendency to be negligent must be curtailed.
If people fail to take precautions, the pandemic is sure to spread rapidly and engulf the whole country.
My appeal to all: Do not be scared, but the danger is not over. Step out of your homes only when it is required. Practice utmost precautions, like wearing of masks, maintain distance, wear gloves, if possible, and wash your hand with soap several times a day when you return from outside. Be very, very careful, because the Chinese virus is lurking everywhere.
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