Awareness, not anxiety, key to fight COVID-19 pandemic: Union Minister Jitendra Singh

New Delhi, Jun 18 (PTI) Awareness, not anxiety, is key to fight coronavirus pandemic, Union Minister Jitendra Singh said on Thursday, underlining international collaboration as the need of the hour.

After inaugurating an international conference here, Singh said that the roadmap ahead for nations in winning the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic lies in restarting the economy and strengthening cooperative federalism.

He said the thrust is for stronger institutions, stronger e-governance models, digitally-empowered citizens and improved healthcare.

Singh, the Minister of State for Personnel, said Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave a wakeup call to the world to fight this challenge and that he set high standards of mutual international cooperation. PM Modi was not only instrumental in creating a COVID-19 emergency fund, with a commitment of USD 10 million, but also addressed the pandemic issue at the SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation), NAM (Non-Aligned Movement) and other platforms, the minister said.

Singh was speaking after inaugurating the international workshop through a webinar, organised jointly by the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC), Ministry of External Affairs and National Centre for Good Governance (NCGG), Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances (DARPG).

The two-day conference is being attended by 81 civil servants from 16 countries including the chief of Staff, Sri Lanka Army, Major General HJS Gunawardena;19 senior secretaries to government from Bangladesh; 11 district administrators from Myanmar; senior officials from Bhutan, Kenya, Morocco, Nepal, Oman, Somalia, Thailand, Tunisia, Tonga, Sudan and Uzbekistan.

“Awareness not Anxiety is key to fight the global pandemic of COVID-19 and international collaboration is the need of the hour,” he said.

In his inaugural address, Singh also said that team work, compassion and statesmanship have defined India’s governance in response to COVID-19 pandemic.

The road ahead focuses on “Do Gaj Doori” – social distancing, he said.

India has popularised the Aarogya Setu App which is currently used by more than 120 million Indians, Singh said.

He said that living with the coronavirus has meant less-contact governance, officials having to work in masks and gloves and work from home models being adopted.

“Virtual offices, web-room meetings, virtual private networks were adopted as India’s central secretariat became a digital central secretariat. 75 ministries adopted e-office, functional web-rooms were created by NIC and India’s digital infrastructure initiatives bore fruit. The impact of integrated service portals was seen,” the minister said.

Singh added that India’s efforts for digital empowerment of citizens were successful in this period of coronavirus pandemic.

The inaugural session was attended by Kshatrapati Shivaji, Secretary, DARPG, V Srinivas, Additional Secretary, DARPG and Director General, National Centre for Good Governance, Devyani Khobragade, Joint Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs and other senior officials from government of India.

The workshop was jointly conceptualized by the Ministry of External Affairs, DARPG and National Centre for Good Governance with the objective of disseminating India’s good governance practices to ITEC countries. PTI AKV AKV TIR TIR