NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said the COVID-19 challenge before the country now is bigger than the last year and called for making efforts to ensure that the infectious disease is stopped from hitting villages “by all means”.
Addressing a ceremony on Panchayati Raj Diwas during which Modi launched the distribution of e-property cards under the ‘SWAMITVA scheme, he said the pandemic was prevented from affecting rural areas last year and exuded confidence that the success can be replicated as local leadership now have experience as well as knowledge.
Chief ministers of eight states joined the event, held virtually, while a large number of local body representatives also connected to the ceremony.
“I have this confidence that if someone is going to emerge victorious first in this fight against the coronavirus, then 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.
Right now, the mantra of the panchayats should be “dawai bhi, kadai bhi” (medicine as well as caution), he stressed.
Modi said villages should follow the guidelines issued by the government and people should also get themselves vaccinated.
To help the poor get food, his government 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. —PTI