Combating Covid Collectively

Image Courtesy: gov.uk

The second wave of Corona virus is currently changing our life and economy dramatically. Our entire medical staff-corona warriors, frontline workers, youth, people associated with essential and emergency services, volunteers, urban local bodies, Panchayati Raj Institutions have a huge responsibility in the fight against Covid-19 pandemic.

It has been decided that COVID-19 vaccination for people in the age group 18-45 years will be cost-free in the Union Territory. It is my humble request to all of you to get yourself vaccinated and educate others too. With active participation of youth, we will certainly win the fight against Covid-19.

Compassion strengthens a society. There is a small anecdote. After God created the world, he realized there was no house he had built for himself. So, he asked his architect, where should he go and live.

The architect thought for a while and said, God, you can go live on the highest mountain peaks.  But, God being God could see what happens in future. He said, one day trekkers would come there followed by thousand others. Then architect suggested that God should go and live on the moon. Again, God said that will not be peaceful and after Apollo 11 the whole earth would be looking at the moon with big Tele- lenses. ‘Each and every inch of moon will scanned, so what about my privacy, God said with sad tone in his voice

Now, the architect went into deep thoughts. God asked him again, so what do you suggest?

The Architect now turned to the God and told him that the best place to hide would be inside his creation- the people. That answer made even God to think for a while.

Architect said with reassuring voice, God, if you start living inside the human body that would be the most peaceful place for you because no one would look inside and bother you. And, then God laughed and disappeared inside the human body.

God lives inside us. I urge every citizen of Jammu Kashmir, in these difficult times, stop seeing the person and start seeing the God hidden inside. Be more kind and compassionate to each other and moreover be available to help each other to deal with this unprecedented health crisis. The administration is alert and working round the clock to ensure best health-care facilities. I am continuously reviewing hospital’s preparedness, strengthening core capacities and ensuring uninterrupted supply of medicines and oxygen. There is no need to panic. We have one of the best doctors to population ratio in the country, medical infrastructure and I can assure you, the administration is committed to tackle the impact of COVID-19.

Since last one year, we have evolved our way of life, reshaped the interconnected world and have devised new mechanism for sustainable and inclusive economic development. Just days before the second wave of Covid-19, the International Monetary Fund had raised country’s GDP growth projection for the current fiscal to 12.5 per cent.

This is the highest growth projection among the top and advanced economies across the world. Under the visionary leadership of Honorable Prime Shri Minister Narendra Modi, who guided the country through difficult times, we fought last year’s pandemic crisis together as a close-knit community.

Now, with the second wave hampering our daily lives, the responsibility of each individual would be much bigger. I can speak from my experience that a single unit acting alone cannot make much headway in a demanding situation and we must forge partnership with others like academia, private sector, self help groups, public sector and the various arms of the administration for a common path of development.

Our Union Territory has more than 69% population below the age of 35 years. This young energy, the vibrant human capital is our biggest asset that will contribute immensely in almost every sector in the Post-Covid era.

There will be restructuring and challenges in trade, governance, health, labour, technology and we will only be able to successfully shoulder these, if we act together now.

I urge every citizen to exploit the opportunities the Covid crisis offers to build a more resilient society and sustainable economy. While the Covid Pandemic continues, we need to focus on boosting productivity, investments and ensure recovery speed is not hampered. On the policy front, there will be long-term economic challenges but I believe with people participation, we can increase growth outlooks and reduce unemployment further.

In the midst of this crisis, we must not abandon the strategy that combines new innovation, research and development, services and investment in transformational products for long term success.

Despite, the challenges, we have focused on speed and peoples participation in formulating our policy framework for this financial year. When we decided to release the first installment of the budget on 1st April that was the first step towards accelerating development process and making Jammu Kashmir more competitive.

The first sign of growth can already be seen in infrastructure like roads and creation of more jobs through self employment.

And, our performance demonstrates that we responded to ongoing Covid challenges with resolute steps. We are making most of the opportunities in education and skill training by exploring various online modes, working on growth and prosperity, good governance and grass root development with the help of elected Panchayat representatives and the people.

We have corrected imbalances in different sectors and consolidated our growth. The Industries department is gearing up to step up business competitiveness and Mission Youth is already working on several plans to provide sustainable livelihood for youth.

The officers will make on-ground assessment of area-specific developmental needs of the districts to formulate realistic district developmental plans that touches lives of ordinary citizens. We are also making efforts for on-boarding maximum services on web based platform for easy access and minimizing human intervention to weed out corruption and enhance transparency. The development plans to focus on the broad contours of enhancing employment, augmenting health sector besides ensuring availability of basic amenities of a progressive society.

There is a fundamental truth in life. For a tree to grow, the root must go deeper. That is why certain balance in governance is needed and the roots, our villages have to grow if the Union Territory wants to flourish. That is why, at our planning stage, we have made sure to make them our integral stakeholder.

The bottom up planning process involving Gram Sabha, Panchayats, Block and districts will identify and address the key issues being faced by the common man. Each district will also come up with a district employment plan. We are ensuring that wage earners can be provided wage employment under MNREGA and job card holders to be provided with minimum 100 days of employment.

Similarly, youth seeking self employment in any Panchayat will also be identified and the necessary financial assistance will be provided from number of schemes. The aim is to ensure that every single youth in the Union Territory looking for employment beyond the government job is provided with an opportunity to become entrepreneur.

Time and again it becomes apparent to me and I am sharing this from my own experience that any challenges can be addressed together, with people’s participation. My idea of governance is that every single individual in Jammu Kashmir Union Territory counts.

All of us must make a common effort to preserve vibrant culture of Jammu Kashmir and its enormous potential for a new, strong Aatm Nirbhar Bharat. Job-oriented-education, focus on agriculture- horticulture, food processing plants, research, and innovation, I believe, are vital tools for sustainable growth, secure jobs, and prosperity.

Stay Safe, be compassionate and educate others to follow the Covid appropriate behavior. I salute all the health-care workers and the people in the frontline fighting COVID-19. We owe a debt of gratitude to our Corona Warriors.  Together we can develop a strong Jammu Kashmir and get ourselves out of this pandemic crisis.

Manoj Sinha is Lt. Governor of Jammu & Kashmir