Ensure COVID does not hit villages: PM Modi tells panchayats, praises their efforts during pandemic
NEW DELHI ;
PRIME Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday called for ensuring that the COVID-19 pandemic is stopped from spreading to villages “by all means” and every person in rural areas is vaccinated, as he noted that the challenge before the country at present is bigger than last year. Appreciating the role of panchayats in the management of coronavirus, especially in creating awareness, Modi asked the local leadership to work towards “complete implementation of guidelines” that are being issued from time to time.
“I have this confidence that if someone is going to emerge victorious first in this fight against the coronavirus, it is going to be India’s villages, the leadership of these villages... The people of the villages will show the way to the country and the world,” the Prime Minister said. Modi was speaking at a virtual event to launch the distribution of e-property cards under the ‘SWAMITVA’ scheme on the National Panchayati Raj Day. Chief ministers of eight states and a large number of local body representatives were also connected to the event virtually.
Underlining that the pandemic was prevented from affecting rural areas last year, he exuded confidence that the success can be replicated as the local leadership now has experience as well as knowledge. Emphasising the need to get vaccinated, Modi said, “This time we have the shield of vaccine. We have to ensure that every person in the village is vaccinated and every precaution is taken.” He also stressed the need for precaution along with vaccination and said, “Right now, the mantra of the panchayats should be dawai bhi, kadai bhi” (medicine as well as strictness). To help the poor during this period, the Centre has decided to provide them free ration for May and June, the Prime Minister noted, adding this will benefit over 80 crore people and cost the Government Rs 26,000 crore. Modi also conferred the National Panchayat Awards 2021 under various categories.
He transferred the award money, ranging from Rs 5 lakh to Rs 50 lakh, as grants-in-aid, by clicking a button, the PMO said in a statement. For the first time, the amount has been directly transferred to the bank account of the panchayats concerned in real-time, the Government said. The scheme will cover around 6.62 lakh villages of the entire country between 2021 and 2025, it said.