DELHI: On the occasion of Panchayat Raj Divas, Prime Minister Narendra Modi interacted with the Sarpanchs all over the country through video conferencing.

National Panchayati Raj Day is the national day of Panchayati Raj System in India celebrated by the  Ministry of Panchayati Raj on 24 April annually.

During the interaction with the Sarpanchs, PM said that the biggest lesson COVID-19 has taught us is to become self-reliant. He also appreciated the villagers for describing social distancing in simple words ‘Do Gaz Ki Doori’ (maintaining distance of two yards) so that people can understand it easily. 

“The biggest lesson COVID-19 has taught us is to become self-reliant,” Modi told the gram panchayat members, underlining that it is now imperative that villages also become self-reliant for their basic needs.

The prime minister said the coronavirus pandemic has thrown up new challenges which the country never faced before, but it also made people learn new things. Applauding people for observing the lockdown rules strictly, the prime minister said it is because of them, the entire world today is talking about how India has responded to the COVID-19 crisis. Despite limited resources amid the coronavirus crisis, citizens are taking on this challenge instead of succumbing to difficulties, he said.

Assuring the rural India of safety and protection from coronavirus, he added that Common Service Centres (CSC) have been opened to help the rural people. ” There was a time when less than 100 gram panchayats were connected to broadband. Today, over 1.25 lakh gram panchayats have broadband,” said Modi.

India reported 921 new cases of coronavirus on Friday, taking the number of active cases to 17,610. The country has reported 718 deaths and 4,748 recoveries. With this, the total number of cases in India crossed 23,000 to reach 23,077, including one migration. Maharashtra, which set a new record by adding 778 infections to its tally, has 6,430 cases – the highest in the country. The lockdown in India is expected to end on May 3.