Just before the beginning of Unlock-Two, Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the nation. He said, the monsoon season has begun in the country, it brings many ailments; Prime Minister urged all Indians to take special care of themselves during the monsoon season.
Prime Minister said, considering corona’s death rate, India is comparatively in a better position compared to many countries of the world. Timely imposition of lockdown and other decisions have saved lakhs of lives. Earlier, we were very careful with respect to wearing of masks, social distancing and washing of hands for 20 seconds. But today, when we need to be more careful, increasing negligence is a cause of worry.
Mr. Modi said, we need to focus more on containment zones. Those not following the rules need to be stopped and cautioned. All have seen in the news, the Prime Minister of a country was fined Rs. 13,000 for not wearing a mask at a public place. In India too, the local administration should work with the same enthusiasm. This is a drive to protect the lives of 130 crore Indians. Be it a village ‘pradhan’ or the Pradhan Mantri, no one is above the law in India, observed the Prime Minister.
The nation’s top priority during the lockdown was to ensure that no one remains hungry. Central government, state governments, civil society, all did their best to ensure that no one went to bed hungry. Thus, immediately after the lockdown, government brought out the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana. Under this scheme, a package worth Rs. 1.75 lakh crore was provided for the poor; Prime Minister said.
In the last three months, 20 Crore poor households have received direct benefit transfers worth Rs. 31,000 Crore. During this period, Rs. 18,000 crore have been deposited in bank accounts of over 9 Crore farmers. Simultaneously, Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Rozgar Abhiyaan was quickly launched for employment of Shramiks in rural areas. Government is spending Rs. 50,000 Crore on this.
In India, over 80 crore people were given free ration for three months. Every member of the family was given 5 kilogram wheat or rice, free of cost. In addition, every family got one kilogram pulse per month, free of cost. In a way, over 2.5 times the population of the United States, 12 times the population of the United Kingdom and double the population of the European Union was given free ration by our government.
Prime Minister said, just after the monsoons, the festive season begins in India. It increases necessities as well as expenditure. Keeping this in mind, it has been decided to extend Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana up to Diwali and Chhath Puja, i.e., till November-end.
The Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana for 80 crore people will continue in July, August, September, October and November. Government will provide free ration to 80 crore poor Indians for five months. Every member of family will get five kilogram wheat or rice. Also, every family will get one kilogram whole chana per month, free of cost.
Over Rs. 90 thousand crore rupees will be spent on this extension of the PM Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana. Including the expenditure of last three months on this scheme, the total comes to Rs. 1.5 lakh crore. One Nation, One Ration card is also being implemented. Major beneficiaries of this will be those who go to other states, in search of employment.
Prime Minister said, today, if the government is able to provide free ration to the needy and poor, then the credit goes to two categories. One – hard working farmers of our country. Second – honest taxpayers of our country. It is their hard work and dedication, due to which the nation is able to do it. Farmers have filled the stocks of the nation, therefore, there is food in kitchen of poor, and workers have paid tax honestly. That is why, the poor of the country are successfully coping with such a big crisis. Prime Minister expressed his heartfelt gratitude to the taxpayers and farmers.
In the coming days, India will further strengthen efforts to empower the poor, downtrodden and deprived sections of society. While taking all precautions, India would further expand her economic activities. We all need to work ceaselessly for Atmanirbhar Bharat. We all should be “vocal for local”. With this pledge and commitment, 130 crore people of this country will have to work together and move forward.
Script: Kaushik Roy; AIR: News Analyst