New Delhi: President Ram Nath Kovind on Friday appreciated the "super-human efforts" in containing the magnitude of the coronavirus pandemic in the country and said these are "worth emulating" by the wider world.
In his address to the nation on the eve of the 74th Independence Day, the president complimented the COVID warriors and said the nation is indebted to doctors, nurses and other health workers who have been continuously on the forefront of the country's fight against this virus.
"All corona warriors deserve high praise," Kovind said in his televised address.
He said it is very reassuring to note that the central government, while anticipating the tremendous challenge, responded effectively and well in time.
"For a country so vast and diverse with high population density, meeting this challenge requires super-human efforts," the president said.
He lauded all state governments for taking measures in accordance with local circumstances.
"People also supported whole-heartedly. With our committed efforts, we have succeeded in containing the magnitude of the pandemic and saving a large number of lives. This is worth emulating by the wider world," he said.
The nation is indebted to doctors, nurses and other health workers who have been continuously on the forefront of our fight against this virus, he said.
"Unfortunately, many of them have lost their lives battling the pandemic. They are our national heroes. All corona warriors deserve high praise. They go much beyond their call of duty to save lives and ensure essential services," Kovind said.
These doctors, health workers, members of disaster management teams, police personnel, sanitation workers, delivery staff, transportation, railway and aviation personnel, providers of various services, government employees, social service organisations and generous citizens have been scripting inspiring stories of courage and selfless service, he said.
"When cities and towns go quiet and roads are deserted, they work tirelessly to ensure that people are not deprived of health care and relief, water and electricity, transport and communication facilities, milk and vegetables, food and groceries, medicine and other essentials. They risk their own lives to save our life and livelihood," Kovind said.
He said the country has learnt some tough lessons in 2020 due to the invisible virus which has demolished the illusion that human beings are the masters of nature. "I believe, it is still not too late for humanity to correct its course and live in harmony with nature."
Kovind said the pandemic, like climate change, has awakened the global community to our shared destiny.
"In my view, 'human-centric collaboration' is more important than 'economy-centric inclusion', in the present context. The greater this change, the better it will be for humanity," he said, adding that the 21st century should be remembered as the century when humanity put aside differences and collaborated to save the planet.
"The second lesson is that we are all equal before Mother Nature and we primarily depend on our fellow residents for survival and growth. Coronavirus does not recognise any artificial divisions created by human society. This reinforces the belief that we need to rise above all man-made differences, prejudices, and barriers," Kovind said.
He said compassion and mutual help have been adopted as basic values by the people in India.
"We need to further strengthen this virtue in our conduct. Only then can we create a better future for all of us," he said.
The third lesson is about augmenting health infrastructure, the president said.
"Public hospitals and laboratories have been leading the fight against COVID-19. Public health services have helped the poor cope with the pandemic. In view of this, public health infrastructure needs to be expanded and strengthened," he said.
Noting that the poor and daily wage-earners are the worst hit by the pandemic, Kovind said, "In order to support them through this phase of crisis, virus containment-efforts have been supplemented by welfare interventions. By introducing 'Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana', the government has enabled crores of people to earn their livelihood, and mitigate the impact of job-loss, dislocation and disruption caused by the pandemic."
He said in the fight against COVID-19, life and livelihood, both are essential.
"We have looked at the current crisis as an opportunity to initiate reforms to revitalise the economy for the benefit of all, especially farmers and small entrepreneurs. Landmark reforms have been introduced in the agriculture sector. Now, farmers can have barrier-free trade and get the best price for their produce anywhere in the country," Kovind said.
He said the celebrations of Independence Day this year will be rather restrained.
"The reason is obvious. The whole world confronts a deadly virus which has disrupted all activities and taken a huge toll. It has altered the world we lived in before the pandemic," the president said.
Kovind said India also reached out to help other countries in their fight against COVID-19.
"In responding to calls from countries for supply of medicines, India has once again shown that it stands by the global community in times of distress. We have been at the forefront in evolving regional and global strategies for an effective response to the pandemic," the president said.