‘COVID-19 Economic Response Task Force’ set-up to meet economic challenges of the pandemic
GN Bureau | March 20, 2020
India has so far been successful to a degree in containing the spread of COVID-19 Novel Coronavirus, the prime minister’s address to the nation has set the 1.3 billion people to avoid complacency and focus on the crucial next phase.
Narendra Modi addressed the nation Thursday evening, asking them to avoid social intermingling whenever possible in the days to come, especially with self-quarantine in the form of ‘janta curfew’ on Sunday. He also exhorted people to express their gratitude to those who have been keeping essential services going.
“The whole world is currently passing through a period of very serious crisis. Normally, when a natural crisis strikes, it is limited to a few countries or states. However, this time the calamity is such that it has it has put all of mankind in crisis. World Wars 1 and 2 did not impact as many countries, as have been affected by Corona today,” he said.
Modi said, “In the past few days, it is appearing as if we have averted the crisis, and everything is okay. Complacency in respect of a global pandemic like Corona is not appropriate. Therefore, it is essential that each and every Indian remains alert and cautious.
“It is imperative to keep two key factors in mind in order to combat this global pandemic – Determination and Patience. Today, all 130 crore fellow citizens will have to further strengthen our resolve to overcome this global crisis, fulfilling all our duties as citizens, and abiding by the directions given by the Central and State governments. Today, we must all resolve to not get infected ourselves, and prevent others as well from getting infected.”
In the address delivered through multiple channels including TV and digital mediums, Modi reached out the fellow Indians, asking them to remember the manta, ‘Hum Swasth, toh Jag Swasth’, that is, the world will be healthy, if we stay healthy.
He appealed “to you all that for the next few weeks, step out of your homes only when absolutely necessary. As far as possible, try and do your work, whether related to business or job, from home”.
In particular, he asked people to abide by a “people’s curfew” from 7 AM until 9 PM on Sunday, March 22. “During this curfew, we shall neither leave our homes, nor get onto the streets or roam about our localities. Only those associated with emergency and essential services will leave their homes. 22nd March will be a symbol of our effort, of our self-restraint, and our resolve to fulfil our duty in service of the nation. The success of a people’s curfew on 22nd March, and the experience gained from it, will also prepare us for our upcoming challenges.”
Modi also mentioned “lakhs of our people” who have been working day and night in our hospitals and airports. “From doctors to nurses, hospital staff, sanitation workers, airlines employees, government staff, police personnel, media people, people associated with train-bus-auto rickshaw services, and home delivery agents; all have been selflessly serving others, without caring about themselves.” To show gratitude to them, the PM wished that “On Sunday at exactly 5 pm, we all stand at the doors, balconies, windows of our homes, and give them all a 5-minute standing ovation. We clap our hands, beat our plates, ring our bells to boost their morale, salute their service.”
He also announced the setting up pf a ‘COVID-19 Economic Response Task Force’ under the leadership of the finance minister. “This Task Force will take decisions in the near future, based on regular interactions and feedback from all stakeholders, and analysis of all situations and dimensions. This Task Force will also ensure that all steps taken to reduce the economic difficulties are effectively implemented.”
He asked people to avoid panic buying and hoarding essential items like milk, groceries and medicines, and assured them all that all steps necessary were being taken to ensure there would be no shortages.
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