While countries and governments across the world are speeding up initiatives and steps to keep the impact of COVID-19 to the minimum, the Government of India too has heightened its actions to ensure the country faces the minimum brunt of this global pandemic.
As the cases of COVID-19 started rising in the country, Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, urged the nation to stand united against this global crisis that has created a panic in every household and announced a Janta Curfew across the nation on March 22, 2020 among other steps. Earlier today, Narendra Modi tweeted, "In a few minutes from now, the #JantaCurfew commences. Let us all be a part of this curfew, which will add tremendous strength to the fight against COVID-19 menace. The steps we take now will help in the times to come. Stay indoors and stay healthy. #IndiaFightsCorona.”
With this crisis, the government is doing every possible thing that will slow down the spread of the virus and also show our gratitude towards people who are working tirelessly to tackle the situation. On March 19, 2020, the Prime Minister mentioned that all citizens should follow Janta Curfew, and no one should step out or congregate. He strongly said, "Our moderation and determination will be defeated by this epidemic." This is indeed a time when the country needs to stand together as one and show resilience while leaders need to proactively initiate and manage change. The Janta Curfew, which was successfully implemented across the nation, stands true to this.
In challenging times like this, qualities like leadership in times of crisis, empathy and change management come into play.
Below are some of the qualities that PM Modi is manifesting as he brings together the entire nation amid the global crisis named COVID-19.
Care and empathy
PM Modi asked all citizens to take part in thanking all the medical fraternity and health workers, who have been working day in and out at hospitals and public places like airports. He requested all citizens to applaud the services extended by airlines' staff, the cleanliness staff, those who deliver food, those who drive railways, bus or auto rickshaw drivers, government officials, policemen, and the media. Terming them as 'Rashtra Rakshaks', PM Modi said that the country was indebted to their services.
Also, during his address, he insisted that employers ensure the salaries of employees are not deducted amid the coronavirus outbreak. He said, "Don't cut the salaries of your employees. They might not be able to come and do their work. Please support them."
Leadership in times of crisis
In a situation like this, people look forward to someone who can give them enough confidence and hope to fight such a battle. And with PM Modi taking the responsibility of showing the right path manifests true qualities of a leader. Apart from addressing the citizens of the country, the Prime Minister is talking to all the stakeholders and monitoring the situation closely. He interacted with various stakeholders associated with the pharmaceuticals industry and reviewed preparations to combat COVID-19.
In order to ensure the production of critical drugs and medical equipment within the country, the government has approved schemes worth Rs 10,000 crore and Rs 4,000 crore, respectively. The Pharmaceutical Associations thanked the Prime Minister for his leadership in this time of crisis. The Associations said that they are committed to maintaining the supply of essential medicines and equipment, and are also working on developing vaccines. They said that the government's policy announcements for the Pharma sector would give the sector a huge boost.
Managing change proactively
Every problem comes with a solution, but only if you are willing to find one. When a crisis occurs, leaders go haywire and only those who have the quality of keeping calm and finding a way come out with flying colors. The world was not ready for such a pandemic; neither was India. As the situation turned alarming in the Indian subcontinent, all the leading ministries pulled their socks to manage the situation with all the immunities they have. Prime Minister announced the creation of 'COVID-19 Economic Response Task Force' under Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. The Task Force coordinates with stakeholders, take feedback, on the basis of which decisions are made to meet various challenges.
He assured citizens that there would not be any shortage of essential items such as food, milk, medicines, etc. and urged them to not start panic buying of essential products.
He asked people to remain alert and not fall prey to misinformation. He said, "During such a global pandemic, it is important to ensure that humanity wins and India wins," the PM said.
Remarkably, India has reported the least number of COVID-19 cases so far among the top 10 economies of the world despite having the second-largest population. India's External Affairs Ministry, Health and Family Welfare Ministry and Civil Aviation Ministry, with the personal intervention of the PM, showed alacrity in response even before the WHO declared it to be a global emergency. They initiated steps to monitor the situation as early as January 8, a day after China identified the new type of Coronavirus, fighting the spread on an SOS mode.
The Prime Minister also appreciated the dedication and commitment of the industry and the zeal with which they are working. He said that due to the trust of people in them, they also have an important role to play in the dissemination of scientific information to the people. As being quoted by many experts, the Janata Curfew is more of a mock-drill for a possible lockdown. But the gesture will go a long way in ensuring that 1.3 billion people are prepared for a grave situation like this if it may come.
Times are certainly tough with the cases of COVID-19 increasing each day, but as a nation, if we stand together and pledge to take the necessary steps to keep the virus at bay, we will ensure that the fight against this pandemic is worthwhile.