Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said that India is running the world’s largest vaccination programme against the coronavirus. He was addressing the country in his monthly radio programme Mann Ki Baat.
“Last year, around this time, the question that was looming was... by when would the corona vaccine come,” he said. “Friends, it’s a matter of honour for everyone that today, India is running the world’s largest vaccination programme.”
India on Sunday crossed the landmark of administering over 6 crore coronavirus vaccine doses. So far, 6,02,69,782 vaccine doses have been administered.
“In UP’s Jaunpur, a 109-yr-old woman got herself vaccinated,” he said. “Similarly, a 107-yr-old man in Delhi got himself vaccinated. We have to make people committed towards the mantra of ‘Dawai bhi, Kadai bhi’.”
In his address, Modi also lauded the country’s citizen for showing “discipline” during the Janata curfew announced in March last year. “My dear countrymen, last year it was this very month of March when the country heard the term ‘Janata Curfew’ for the first time,” he said. “Just have a look at the experience of the might of the great Praja, people of this great country…Janata Curfew had become a bewilderment to the entire world. It was an unprecedented example of discipline; generations to come will certainly feel proud at that.”
A year ago, on March 24, India began a countrywide lockdown with just four-hours’ notice in a bid to contain the spread of the coronavirus. The lockdown lasted for nine weeks, and was then either partially or fully extended in different parts of the country. Though the Indian lockdown was considered the most severe in the world, India currently is the third-worst country in the world in terms of the number of infections and the fourth-worst in terms of the number of deaths.
On Sunday, the prime minister also congratulated cricketer Mithali Raj and badminton player PV Sindu. Earlier in March, Raj became the first woman to score 7,000 runs in One Day International cricket, while Sindhu won the Silver Medal in the BWF Swiss Open Super 300 Tournament. “Today, from education to entrepreneurship, armed forces to science and technology, the country’s daughters are making a distinct mark everywhere,” he said. “I am especially happy that daughters are making a new place for themselves in sports. Sports is coming up as a preferred choice in professional choices.”
On agriculture, Modi said that modernisation in the sector was the need of the hour as time has already been lost to do so. “Adopting new alternatives, new innovations, along with traditional farming, are equally important to create new opportunities for employment in the agriculture sector; to increase the income of farmers,” he said. “The country has experienced it during the white revolution.”
He also thanked his listeners for helping Mann ki Baat reach 75 episodes. “It seems like just yesterday when we had embarked upon this journey of thoughts and ideas,” he said. “Then, on the 3rd of October, 2014, it was the pious occasion of Vijayadashmi; look at the coincidence – today it is Holika Dahan. ‘May one lamp light another, thus illuminating the Nation’ – treading along this sentiment, we’ve traversed this way.”
He also extended his wishes for the upcoming festivals, including that of Holi, Easter, Gudi Parva and Baisakhi. He also pointed out that the birth anniversary of Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar was coming, which “reminds us of our constitutional rights and duties.”
“This time in the ‘Amrit Mahotsav’, this occasion has become even more special,” he said. “I am sure that we will make this birth anniversary of Babasaheb a memorable one by taking a resolve of our duties and thus paying tribute to him. With this very belief, wish you all the best for the festivals once again.”