Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that India should assess its coronavirus fight against the metric of how many lives it is able to save and added that the country can still reach the $5 trillion economy goal by 2024 despite the disruption caused by the pandemic. In an interview with The Economic Times, PM Modi also explained how the timely nationwide lockdown helped save scores of lives and expressed confidence about the economy coming back on track.
“When we introduced a lockdown, the total number of cases was in a few hundreds, unlike many countries that adopted a lockdown when the cases were in the thousands. We imposed lockdown at a very critical point in the pandemic trajectory," PM Modi said.
He added that besides the implementation of a timely lockdown, India was also among the first countries to mandate wearing of masks and use a contact-tracing application.
On being asked about his assessment of the state of the spread of the virus in India, PM Modi said that the country has among the lowest Covid-19 mortality rates in the world and that the recovery rates remain high. “Our recovery rate continues to be high and our active cases are signicantly falling. From a peak of almost 97,894 daily cases in mid-September, we are reporting only around 50,000 new cases in late October."
The prime minister further praised India’s science-driven approach and said that the country was now on the path of an economic recovery. “We not only got the broad timing of various phases of lockdown right, we also got the unlock process right and much of our economy is also coming back on track. The data for August and September indicates that."
Modi, however, stressed that there is no room for complacency and maintained that taking precautions such as wearing masks, hand washing and social distancing, was the only way forward.
“At one time, some places like Gujarat were seen as hot spots while the situation seemed to be under control in Kerala, Karnataka etc. After a few months, things have improved in Gujarat but turning for the worse in Kerala."
The prime minister hailed the Covid warriors and said that a pandemic of this dimension would not have been managed if the country was not united. “The entire country stood together to fight this virus. The Covid warriors, who are our frontline healthcare workers, knowing well the threat to their life, fought for this country," he said.
On the destabilizing effect of the pandemic and where it stands on the goal of becoming a $5 trillion economy by 2024, PM Modi asserted that India is optimistic of its future and reaching the $5 trillion target. “So what if we could not move at the desired pace this year due to the pandemic! We will try and run faster in the next year to make up for the loss," Modi said.