Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday penned an op-ed in major newspapers and addressed the nation on television hailing India’s COVID-19 vaccination programme, under which more than 100 crore jabs have been administered so far.
It was Modi’s 10th address to the nation since March 2020, when he announced a nationwide lockdown amid surging coronavirus cases.
The PM did not directly mention the devastating second wave that killed hundreds of thousands of people earlier this year but referred to India’s journey from “anxiety to assurance”, which has made the country stronger. “It has been a truly bhagirath effort involving multiple sections of society,” he said.
“The vaccine drive is an example of what India can achieve if the citizens and the government come together with a common goal in the spirit of Jan Bhagidari. When everyone takes ownership, nothing is impossible,” he said.
The PM said nations around the world are still battling vaccine hesitancy. “But [India’s] 100 crore vaccine dose achievement shows how we have defeated the vaccine hesitancy. With trust in science and innovations, India has managed to achieve this major feat.”
Modi described the mood in the nation as one of “optimism, optimism, optimism” when it came to the economy and other markers of growth. He also said the country was attracting record investments and hailed new businesses and start-ups. The PM said experts in India and abroad are very positive about India’s economy: “Today, not only record investment is coming to Indian companies but new employment opportunities are also being created for the youth.”
Earlier in his address, Modi said there was a lot of pressure from different interest groups to give preferential treatment to them in vaccination. “But the government ensured that, like our other schemes, there is no VIP culture in the vaccination drive.”