The year just ending may be called by some as one of external disruptions due to the coronavirus pandemic but for India, it will be known as a year of internal discovery, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said, affirming that “reforms and resolve, resilience and responsibility will power our journey in the coming year”.
“Some may call the year 2020 as a year of external disruptions due to the pandemic. But I firmly believe that 2020 will be known, not as a year of external disruption, but as a year of internal discovery, for our citizens, for our society and for our nation,” Modi writes in a special article in the “Manorama Yearbook 2021”.
Noting that adversity not only builds strength “but also brings out our true innate character”, he writes that the pandemic “has brought to the fore India’s national character for the entire world to behold, as a resilient and united nation. Across the world, people have expressed wonder at the way in which Indians, whether poor or rich, young or old, rural or urban, have shown the ability to be responsible, disciplined, focused, law-abiding, patient and composed during a crisis of unprecedented proportions”.
“We have not only stayed firm in the face of trying circumstances but have also helped the world – India emerged as a pharmacy to the world, sending life-saving drugs and medicines far and wide, at the same time ensuring no shortage to our own people,” Modi writes.
Even as the country and the people were battling a once-in a-century health pandemic, various parts of the country faced devastating cyclones and other such hardships. “However, the central government, various state governments, and people from across the country came together to face these challenges.” “Our nation’s resilient spirit was complemented by our robust systems and institutions. Our physical infrastructure held together by the fabric of our society formed the foundation of our determined response. Our healthcare infrastructure was tested but never bested. Even as systems were crumbling in many other countries, our infrastructure scaled rapidly and immensely to help crores of people in various ways,” Modi writes.
Speaking about the future, he says India “is ready for an ambitious marathon” on the road to development in the coming decade.
“A slew of reforms across various sectors are strengthening our development trajectory. Earlier, reforms used to be hostage to political expediencies. However, political calculations matter only when a nation is aiming low. For an aspirational nation that wants to surge towards its destiny, no bar is high enough for us to leap over.
“Today, India is progressing rapidly towards the goal of an Aatmanirbhar Bharat. An Aatamanirbhar Bharat means an India which is more competitive, an India which is more productive and an India which celebrates local talent. An Aatmanirbhar Bharat will increase India’s role in global supply chains by attracting more global businesses to India to take full advantage of India’s policy stability, low taxes and skilled human resources,” the Prime Minister writes.
A trinity of reforms in the fields of education, agriculture and labour laws will immensely help our students, farmers and youth and empower them with more choices and unlock their full potential while maintaining adequate safeguards for the vulnerable.
“We are also undertaking deregulation and de-criminalisation of offences under the Companies Act to increase the Ease of Doing Business. We are welcoming private enterprises in all sectors to improve competition and choice for the consumers. India is also one of the most open countries today when it comes to FDI, which is resulting in record inflows of FDI from across the world,” the Prime Minister writes.
The COVID-19 pandemic, Modi says, has reinforced the ability of technology to be a valuable bridge. From multi-nation summits to multi-national companies, everyone’s work had to go online. Despite the pandemic-induced disruption, it was the technological platform laid assiduously in the form of JAM (Jan Dhan, Aadhaar and Mobile) Trinity that helped the government reach the poorest of the poor with direct financial assistance worth lakhs of crores of rupees when even developed nations were struggling with archaic I.T. systems.
“In the coming year, there will be an even greater focus on self-reliance and resilience in technology. In the movement for an Aatmanirbhar Bharat, technology-both as a domain and as an enabler-plays an important role. There is a buzz about India’s young and vibrant tech circles. Both the government and the tech ecosystem will continue working closely on strengthening the homegrown start-up and mobile app ecosystem.” The democratization of access will be a force multiplier to the power of technology. “It was India’s state-of-theart digital payments framework which ensured that commerce still connected small businesses with consumers in times of social distancing. To further power India’s tech revolution, we have already committed to taking broadband connectivity to over 1 lakh villages, and within the next 1,000 days, it will reach all 6 lakh villages of India,” the Prime Minister writes.
To catch up to WhatsApp, Signal adds custom wallpapers and animated stickers.
Signal enjoyed an unexpected uptick in users following WhatsApp’s recent privacy blunder. In an effort to capitalize on its rising popularity, Signal has started testing features that make the messaging platform feel a little friendlier.
Earlier this month, Signal announced a handful of new features that would be coming to the platform, including chat wallpapers and animated stickers. As promised, these two features are now available in the beta version of the app, making it feel more like WhatsApp than ever before.
Android Police got its hands on both new features, sharing screenshots of what chat wallpapers look like. You can change your chat wallpaper in Signal by going to Settings > Appearance > Chat wallpaper. You can also change the wallpaper of an individual chat by tapping the person’s name in the top bar and looking for the chat wallpaper option.
There are a total of 21 chat wallpapers to choose from, including 12 solid colors and 9 gradient colors. Android Police said you can also choose a photo from your phone’s camera roll for extra personalization. Before, Signal featured only white and black backgrounds depending on if dark mode was enabled on your device.
Android Police also provides a quick preview of Signal’s new animated stickers—something the platform has dabbled with in the past. There’s a new Day by Day sticker pack that contains 24 animated stickers to help liven up your conversation. The art is by Miguel Angel Camprubí.
Finally, Signal appears to be adding a simple About section for users’ profiles. Users will have the opportunity to choose an emoji and also add a short description of themselves. It’s a simple way to share some of your personality before even having a conversation. Apparently, Signal users can save several blurbs and switch between them on the fly, essentially making them status updates.
If you’re on iOS, Signal said it also plans to add media auto-download settings and full-screen profile photos, the latter of which is already available on Android.
These new additions to Signal appear to be in the beta version of the app for now. Hopefully, testing goes smoothly so they can be added to the stable build. Once that rolls out, we’ll be sure to let you know.