Updated: February 1, 2021 5:14:55 am
Modi also referred to the “inspirational” performance of the Indian cricketers in Australia, and claimed that the country’s vaccination programme against Covid-19 was setting an example for the world.
“This month, there has been very good news from the cricket pitch… Our cricket team, after initial setbacks made a grand comeback, winning the series in Australia. The hard work and teamwork of our players is inspirational,” the Prime Minister said, according to the official English rendering of his radio address on Sunday.
However, he added, “Amidst all this, the country was saddened by the insult to the Tricolor on the 26th of January in Delhi.
“We have to infuse times to come with new hope and novelty. Last year, we displayed exemplary patience and courage. This year too, we have to work hard to attain our resolves. We have to take our country forward at a faster pace,” he said.
The beginning of this year “marks the completion of almost one year of our battle against Corona”, Modi said. And “just as India’s fight against Corona became an example, our vaccination programme too is turning out to be exemplary to the world”.
India, Modi said, is “undertaking the world’s biggest Covid Vaccine Programme”, and “we are vaccinating our citizens faster than anywhere in the world”.
“In just 15 days, India has vaccinated over 30 lakh Corona Warriors, whereas an advanced country such as America took 18 days to get the same done; Britain 36 days!”
The “Made in India vaccine” is a “symbol of India’s self-reliance” and “self-pride”, Modi said.
“During the moment of crisis, India is able to serve the world today, since she is capable, self-reliant in the field of medicines, vaccines. The same thought underpins the Atmanirbhar Bharat Campaign. The more India is capable, the more will she serve humanity; correspondingly the world will benefit more!”
Speaking about a “month-long Strawberry Festival” in Jhansi, Modi said “the government is committed to modernising agriculture and is also taking many steps in that direction”.
The Prime Minister said India will this year begin “Amrit Mahotsav”, the celebration of 75 years of Independence. “This is an excellent time to explore places associated with those heroes on account of whom we attained freedom.”
He announced that “an initiative has been taken for Young Writers for the purpose of India Seventy-Five”, which “will encourage young writers of all states and of all languages”. This will bring forth “in large numbers” writers “who have studied deeply Indian heritage and culture”, and will contribute to “prepare a category of thought leaders that will decide the course of the future”.
The freedom struggle, Modi said, “was fought with full might in every part, every city, every town and village of India”, and “in every corner of this land, Bharatbhoomi, great sons and brave daughters were born who gave up their lives for the nation”.
“It is very important that we preserve the saga of their struggles for our sake and their memories and for this we can write about them to keep their memories alive for generations to come. I appeal to all countrymen, especially the young friends to write about freedom fighters, incidents associated with freedom.”
Modi cited the examples of the four Indian women pilots who flew a non-stop passenger flight from San Francisco to Bengaluru, and the two women officers of the Indian Air Force who took part in the Republic Day – “whatever be the area, the participation of the women of the country is continuously on the rise”, he said.
The Prime Minister also spoke about road safety. “Road accidents are a matter of concern not just in our country but also the world over”, he said. “Many efforts are being made for road safety at the individual and collective level along with the government”, he said, and asked people to “become active stakeholders in these efforts to save lives”.
He also highlighted the FASTag, which he said has reduced the average time taken by a vehicle to cross a toll plaza from seven to eight minutes earlier to one and a half minutes to two minutes now.
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