Union minister Prakash Javadekar on Thursday said though the first COVID-19 case emerged in the country on January 30, Prime Minister Narendra Modi knew well in advance that the viral infection was a serious threat and the entire world would get affected by it.
Referring to the recent anti-terror operations carried out by security forces in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, the Information and Broadcasting minister said Pakistan will never succeed in its "sinister" designs.
He was addressing a "virtual rally", named "Jan Samvad Rally", for Saurashtra and Central Gujarat zone to mark completion of one year (in May-end) of the Modi-led government in its second term.
"No one had even heard the name of coronavirus till last year. The first case of coronavirus in India was registered on January 30 (in Kerala)."
"However, almost a month before the first case emerged, the PM used to tell us in every cabinet meeting that it poses a serious threat and it may spread across the world," he said.
"He used to ask us to ramp up preparations to tackle it and take necessary precautions. This is the sign of a leadership which loves its people," Mr Javadekar said in his address via video conferencing facility.
Mr Javadekar said from zero COVID-19 hospital and only one testing lab - NIV in Pune - India now has 800 hospitals to treat coronavirus patients and around 300 laboratories for testing.
"As soon as the coronavirus entered India, Modiji declared a package of Rs 1,70,000 crore. We gave free ration to 80 crore people and deposited Rs 500 in the bank accounts of 20 crore women for three months."
"Almost 70 lakh migrant workers were sent back home by 5,000 trains," said the minister, who also handles the Environment, Forest and Climate Change portfolio."
"We gave Rs 2,000 each to nine crore farmers (as part of PM-KISAN scheme). We all need to understand this. The Congress waived farm loans of Rs 57,000 crore only once."
"While we are giving Rs 60,000 crore to farmers every year and it will be given for 10 years," he said. He added that PM Modi showed how a "Janta ki Sarkar" works.
In his address, he listed several other achievements of the NDA government, including scrapping of Articles 370 & 35-A in J&K, opening of the Kartarpur Corridor, enactment of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, the Bodo agreement, GST implementation and commencement of Ram temple construction in Ayohdya following the Supreme Court verdict, among others.
"Indian forces are giving a befitting reply to terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir since the last one week. While many terrorists were killed, some were also arrested during operations."
"India has clearly conveyed the message that Pakistan will never succeed in its sinister plans," Mr Javadekar said.
Mr Javadekar also mentioned about PM Modi's resolve to build an "Atmanirbhar Bharat" (self-reliant India) in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
"It does not entail cutting trade ties with the world. It means we will import less and export more. It also encourages people to buy locally-made products," he said.
After his address, Gujarat BJP leaders, who had gathered inside a hall in Gandhinagar for the rally, took a pledge to promote promote locally-manufactured products as propagated by PM Modi. They also pledged to buy locally-manufactured products