NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said coronavirus has taught India to become self-reliant and dealing with the pandemic has realigned the country’s focus on the urgent need for self sustenance.

Speaking to panchayat members across the country via videoconferencing on the occasion of National Panchayati Raj Day, Modi said it was the responsibility of every citizen to strengthen the panchayat system and people should strive to make villages, district, states and eventually the country self-reliant.

“Coronavirus has brought new challenges before us which we had not even thought about. The pandemic has given us a new lesson, we have to become self reliant. We have to become self-reliant so that we are able to sustain ourselves. Our villages, district, states and country has to become self-sufficient. Our elders have always taught us to become self sufficient and now it has become the need of the hour,” said Modi.

Modi said the fight against coronavirus pandemic was being led by the villages of India which have given the slogan of social distancing. “The villages in India have given the mantra of – Do gaj doori – to define social distancing in simpler terms, to fight coronavirus pandemic,” Modi added.

PM said while there is a pandemic in the world and India, but people have showed to the world in the last 2-3 months that Indians were ready to fight against coronavirus threat even with limited resources. “It is such a big pandemic but in the last 2-3 months we have seen that people of India were fighting against the pandemic even with limited resources. People were ready to fight against the pandemic but not give up,” Modi said.

Modi also launched the eGram Swaraj app and the Swamitva Yojana scheme during the video conference. He said the app will allow more “transparency in gram panchayats, record keeping will be simpler and completion of projects will also be swifter”. The Swamitva Yojaana scheme will help map properties in villages via drones which would end disputes, he added. “Like cities, people in villages too will be able to easily take loans against their property which in turn can help them in achieving a lot,” Modi added.

“It is very important for farmers to be healthy, they feed us. It is the farmers who have ensured that even during the lockdown we have easy access to fruits, vegetables, food grains and milk,” Modi added.

Talking to a sarpanch from Bihar, Modi discussed the migrants issue and said it was natural for those stuck in cities in other states to feel homesick, and panchayat members should ensure they are in constant touch with their families. He also urged panchayat members to ensure that the Aarogya Setu app is downloaded by people in villages to keep them safe.


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