With India set to enter Unlock 2 from 1 July, PM Narendra Modi, in his 16-minute long speech that was addressed to the nation on Tuesday, noted the need to maintain seriousness in the fight against COVID-19. Stating that the shift to Unlock 2 coincides with the weather which results in several ailments, he asked everyone to take care of their health.
“Due to timely decisions like lockdown, it has been possible to save the lives of lakhs of people and the death rate in the country is amongst the lowest in the world. However, irresponsible and negligent behavior has been on the rise during Unlock 1. Earlier, people were more careful about the usage of masks, washing hands for more than 20 seconds several times during the day, and maintaining a physical distance. At a time when more being more careful is necessary, the rise of negligence is a cause of concern,” the Prime Minister said.
The Prime Minister said that regulations need to be followed with the same seriousness as during lockdown, especially in containment zones. He urged people to spread awareness among those not following such rules and regulations, giving the example of the Prime Minister of a country being fined Rs 13,000 for not wearing a mask in a public place. He said that local administration in India will need to act with the same alacrity, since no one, including the Prime Minister, is above the rule of law, a press release from the Prime Minister’s office noted.
Elaborating on the measures being taken by the government to assist the poor, PM Narendra Modi, during his speech, announced the extension of PM Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana till November. “During this five-month period, more than 80 crores people will be provided 5 kg free wheat/rice per month. Along with providing 5kg free rice/wheat to each member of a family, 1 kg free whole chana will also be provided to each family per month,” the PM said. He also stated that the country is moving towards the institution of ‘one nation, one ration card’.
Earlier in the day, the Prime Minister chaired a high-level meeting to review planning and preparations for vaccination against COVID-19. PM Modi directed officials to evaluate the available technology options that can form the backbone of the national endeavor to vaccinate all in the most efficient and timely manner.