COVID-19 is undoubtedly the biggest challenge faced by our country since Independence. The bold and visionary decision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to enforce a lockdown early on has contained the spread of the virus.
Today, the resolve and dedication of medical, paramedical, police, and emergency services staff have ensured that the growth in confirmed cases in India is linear and not exponential as has been witnessed by many European countries and the United States of America. We salute our heroes.
Since the day of taking the oath, my priority has been the health and safety of the citizens of my state and to ensure that the last man standing in a queue is taken care of.
We have deposited Rs 885 crore in the accounts of 8.85 lakh registered labourers in the state. Seven lakh migrant workers based in 22 states have been given assistance to the tune of Rs 70 lakh. Rs 430 crore worth of scholarships have been disbursed. Sixty-six lakh students eligible for mid-day meals have been provided with Rs 117 crore. Forty-six lakh pension holders have been released advance pension of two months of Rs 562 crore.
A roadmap for prevention and containment of the virus was prepared as my predecessor government had not made any arrangements. A comprehensive IITT (Identification, Isolation, Testing, and Treatment) strategy was devised and implemented on a war footing. As of today, we have 20,243 isolation beds, 783 ICU beds, 690 ventilators, and 11 testing centres in the state.
Working on the mantra of self-reliance as propagated by our Prime Minister, PPE kits are being manufactured locally in the state. People have come out to support each other during this crisis – more than 57,000 volunteers have registered and are helping in government relief work.
In Madhya Pradesh, the growth in cases has moderated and the situation is under control. The spirit of the people of Indore and Bhopal, who have set standards for cleanliness for the rest of the country, will overcome this battle. The cooperation of people of the state with the state government despite facing challenges has been commendable.
Every crisis presents an opportunity. Corona has given us PRERNA. It has taught us to be patient, reflective, empathetic, resilient, natural, and austere.
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As Aristotle has put it, “Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet.” All of us are patiently staying at home to ensure that we remain safe and India remains healthy. This is already showing better results. This is also likely to strengthen our relationships.
As Paul T P Wong said, “Time spent in self-reflection is never wasted – it is an intimate date with yourself.” Utilise this time wisely. The world may never be the same again. Analyse and hone your skill-sets to be better prepared for the future.
“Empathy,” it is said, “is seeing with the eyes of another, listening with the ears of another, and feeling with the heart of another.” The entire nation has shown empathy towards the plight of the migrant workers and people are helping in whatever small way they can by providing food and shelter to the needy. We feel the pain of our brothers and stand with them in this crisis.
As Steve Maraboli wrote: “Life doesn’t get easier or more forgiving, we get stronger and more resilient.” The crisis will make us stronger. These life-long learnings will prepare us to face challenges in the future.
As Frank Lloyd Wright famously said, “Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.” The chirping of the birds, the clearer skies, and good air quality during the lockdown have all brought us closer to nature and made us realise its importance.
Most of us are enjoying no comforts or luxuries during the lockdown. E-commerce platforms and local kirana shops are selling only essential items. People are also consuming less without hoarding so that there is no shortage for the needy, leading lives of austerity.
The way businesses are run will undergo a sea change post COVID. Many companies would permanently shift persons in certain roles and functions to work from home. Remote working provides access to a bigger resource pool for companies. This will provide enhanced job opportunities for the talented youth of Madhya Pradesh.
The coronavirus has disrupted supply chains globally. This is likely to result in diversification of supply chains. Madhya Pradesh is geographically located at the centre of India. It has the potential to emerge as a logistics hub for the country in the near future, as a rebalancing of supply chains takes place. Resultantly, the state will become the warehousing hub of the country.
The entire political establishment is working together under the leadership of Narendra Modi to tackle the spread of the coronavirus. We have to remain vigilant, follow the lockdown strictly, and maintain social distancing so that the gains made to date are not negated. The next 10 days are crucial. Stay home, stay safe. Together, we will defeat corona and emerge stronger.
Jan Jan Ki Aas, Haarega Corona, Hoga Vikas!
This article appeared in the print edition of May 2, 2020, under the name ‘Stronger after crisis’. The writer is the chief minister of Madhya Pradesh