The COVID-19 pandemic has brought to the fore India's national character for the entire world to behold and 2020 will be known as a year of internal discovery rather than of external disruption, according to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Across the world, people have expressed wonder at the way in which Indians, whether poor or rich, young or old, rural or urban, have shown the ability to be responsible, disciplined, focused, law-abiding, patient and composed during a crisis of unprecedented proportions, he said.
"Some may call the year 2020 as a year of external disruptions due to the pandemic. But I firmly believe that 2020 will be known, not as a year of external disruption, but as a year of internal discovery, for our society and for our nation," Modi wrote in an exclusive article in the Manorama Yearbook 2021.
"Adversity not only builds strength but also brings out our true innate character. This global pandemic has brought to the fore India's national character for the entire world to behold, as a resilient and united nation," the write-up titled "Aatmanirbhar Bharat: Transforming India" said.
Many Indian pharma companies are working to develop a vaccine against coronavirus.
As on Monday, the number of COVID-19 cases in the country crossed 94 lakh and the recoveries' figure neared 88,50,000, according to Union health ministry data. The official toll in the morning stood at 1,37,139.
In the article, Modi also said that in the face of trying circumstances, India has not only stayed firm but also helped the world.
"India emerged as a pharmacy to the world, sending life-saving drugs and medicines far and wide, at the same time ensuring no shortage to our own people.
"After the pandemic struck, in no time, our COVID warriors rose to the occasion and led India's fight from the front. Remarkable efforts on a war-footing made India self-sufficient in PPE production," the prime minister wrote.
Countless unsung heroes, from ambulance drivers to pharmacists, from security personnel to small neighbourhood vendors, kept our lives going even during difficult circumstances, while carefully maintaining social distancing, wearing masks and adapting digital payments, he said.
Modi asserted that a slew of reforms across various sectors are strengthening the country's development trajectory as against earlier reforms that used to be "hostage to political expediencies".
Highlighting the significance of Aatmanirbhar Bharat, he said it means an India which is more competitive, an India which is more productive and an India which celebrates local talent.
"An Aatmanirbhar Bharat will increase India's role in global supply chains by attracting more global businesses to India to take full advantage of India's policy stability, low taxes and skilled human resources," he said.
Modi also wrote that the COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced the ability of technology to be a valuable bridge and from multi-nation summits to multi-national companies, everyone's work had to go online.
He was of the view that in the coming year, there will be an even greater focus on self-reliance and resilience in technology.
The yearbook is power-packed in 25 sections and has write-ups on post-COVID careers, the cost of COVID-19 on the Indian economy, work from home, Indo-Pak and Sino-India relations and attitude and aptitude among other topics, says chief editor Mammen Mathew.
"Looking back at 2020 we can say that we have come through quarantines and lockdowns by maintaining social distancing, self-masking, sanitising, despite disruptions and confinements in our personal space," he writes in the editorial.
Manorama Yearbook can now be ordered here.