(National General Secretary, BJP)
Mankind is passing through a very difficult phase due to the outbreak of Covid-19. It has been perhaps the toughest challenge for humankind since World-War-II. It has already been more than a year when the virus was first reported in China and since then has spread like a wildfire to all the five continents of the world.
The problems and challenges thrown up by the pandemic are unprecedented. Initial reports indicated that the developing countries like India with high population density would bear the major brunt of the Corona pandemic considering factors like weak health and medical infrastructure and other factors like poor-hygiene, poverty and lack of resources to deal with this crisis.
The western media of course was very vocal in cautioning against the spread of the virus in India and was skeptical regarding steps taken by the NDA government to contain the virus. They even called India’s crisis and response to the pandemic as a humanitarian-disaster. They were even suggesting doom’s day for India.. Some critics went to the extent of undermining the government’s response by alleging that the number of affected persons was not being disclosed by the government.
The entire exercise of the Centre to prevent the spread of the virus as well as to deliver the key health infrastructure like medicines, ventilators, PPE kits etc; was under cloud. Not only India’s health care infrastructure was questioned but even the well-timed and well- executed lockdown was doubted since migrant workers and other sections of the society were hit hard. The world was observing with suspicion and curiosity how the second most populous country of the world would survive this pandemic.
It was indeed a daunting task for the government to fight the negative publicity and the challenge that pandemic had posed. The situation was war-like in which the countrymen and the world had to fight against an invisible enemy. It needed effective, tough and visionary leadership which could take decisions to save the countrymen from the clutches of this fatal pandemic. It also needed proactive steps and focused approach on the part of the nation instead of just relying on the systemic-methods and knee-jerk reactions. It also needed instilling a feeling of faith in the nation that together we could overcome this crisis. At operational level, countering Corona needed three pronged strategy; awareness, prevention and curative steps in case the virus affected our countrymen on a large scale.
How the nation has sailed through the unprecedented crisis under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi is a history in the making. How India successfully fought this challenge and emerged with flying colours would surely be part of the syllabus of the top management schools like Oxford, Howard, Stanford in future. The nation has almost passed the storm of corona in the stewardship of the Karmyogi Prime Minister.
Right from the beginning, the government was so pro-active that even before the very first case of corona-virus was reported, almost every Indian was made aware about the preventive steps for corona through the use of phone-ringtone and other measures. In his address to the nation, the Prime Minister went for lockdown with the message ‘Jaan hai toh Jahan Hai’( if you have life only then you survive). Life of the citizens was given priority over anything else. On the economic front, a slew of measures were taken to boost the reclining economy and also to give direct benefits to lakhs of poor labourers and needy following the lockdown. In his faith and reliance on make-in-India, the PM not only saw modern allopathic medicine as a way to treat the people but brought in the Ministry of AYUSH to play the role. This ‘immunity-mantra’ well projected by the PM soon became a buzz-word which not only created immunity in the masses but also created awareness about ayurveda. The health infrastructure came into focus with the maximum attention to the curative health-emergency like masks, hospitalization, PPE-Kits, ventilators and oxygen cylinders. Every resource of the nation was diverted to this cause. Simultaneously, the Indian scientists were encouraged to develop a curative protocol and a vaccine.
The world is still gripping with this virus. On 26th January 2021, the USA reported 4101 deaths and the UK has reported 1631 daily deaths. Even with their highly developed healthcare infrastructure, the western countries are unable to handle this crisis. Foresighted steps taken then by the government are paying high dividends. As of today, not only India is able to contain its virus-spread and bring down daily cases from nearly one lakh in September 2020 to below 9100 per day with active cases falling below 1,74,000. The recovery rate is nearly 97 % which is the highest among the most affected countries.
The only effective way to save the dying humanity from the tentacles of corona is a vaccine. One is reminded of the incident of “Lakshman-Murcha” in Ramayana, where Lakshman fell unconscious after being badly hit by Meghnath and was in a dire need of sanjivani (medicine) to save his life. When everything was in gloom, Lord Hanuman despite all the challenges of time and roadblocks could find out and deliver the herb in time to save the dying Lakshman. Credit must be given to the team India led by Modi who encouraged Indian scientists to develop India’s vaccine in a race against time. The India vaccine is not only safe and reliable but very cost-effective also. India is heading for the largest vaccination drive in the history of mankind wherein it aims to vaccinate its 1.3 billion population out of whom 2 million people have already been vaccinated. It has already trained 2 lakh vaccinators and 3,70,000 men-team to help with 29,000 cold storages. India is seen as healer of the world be it export of preventive medicines like Hydroxychloroquine or curative Remdesivir or health care equipment like PPE kits, Ventilators etc. India is now following its ethos of Vasudev-Kutumbakam wherein it is giving doses of made in India vaccines to other countries. India has already gifted vaccine-doses to Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Morocco, Brazil, Seychelles etc. While China is blamed as a spreader of the virus, the world is hailing India as a healer. India has emerged as the physician of the world and has turned out to be a pharmacy of the world which is not only nursing its own population but the entire world.