Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee Research Foundation

PM’s Special Key Note Address at US-ISPF US-India Summit 2020

  • Distinguished guests in India and USA, Namaste, It is wonderful to see US-ISPF bring together a diverse range of people for the US India Summit 2020. The work ofthe US-ISPF in bringing India and USA closer is commendable.
  • I have known John Chambers for many years now. His affection towards India is very strong. A few years ago he was awarded the ‘Padma Shri’.
  • Friends, The theme for this yearis a relevant one – Navigating New Challenges. When the year 2020 began, did anybody imagine this is how it would pan out?
  • A global pandemic has impacted everyone. It is testing:our resilience, our public health systems, our economic systems.
  • The current situation demands a fresh mind set.A mind set where the approach to development is human centric. Where there isa spirit of cooperationbetween everyone.
  • Friends, While looking at the way ahead we should keep our focus on- ramping up our capacities, securing the poor and future proofing our citizens.
  • This is the path India is taking. India was among the first in creating a responsive system of lockdowns. India was among the first to advocate the use of masks and face coverings as a public health measure.
  • We were also among the earliest to create public awareness campaigns about social distancing. In record time, medical infrastructure was scaled up- be it Covid hospitals, ICU capacities and more.
  • Starting from one testing lab in January, we now have around sixteen hundred labs across the country. The outcome of these efforts has been that a country with 1.3 billion people and limited resources has one of the lowest death rates per million in the world.
  • The recovery rate is also steadily rising. I am happy that our business community, in particular small business been pro-active. Starting from almost nothing, they made us the second largest PPE kits manufacturer in the world.
  • This is in line with India’s spirit of challenging the challenge to emerge stronger. In the last few months the nation has battled Covid, and other crisis such as floods, 2-2 cyclones,locust attack.But, it has only made the people’s resolve stronger.
  • Friends, Through the entire COVID-19 period and the lockdown, the Government of India was clear on one thing- the poor have to be protected.
  • The ‘Pradhan MantriGaribKalyanYojana’ for India’s poor is among the largest support system seen anywhere globally. Free food grainis being provided to 800 million people.
  • This scheme operates for 8 months.800 million people means:More than double of USA’s population. Free cooking gas is being provided to around 80 million families.
  • Cash support has been provided to around 345 million farmers and needy people. The scheme has given much-needed employment for migrant workers by creating almost 200 million person-days of work.