Published On: Sun, Jan 31st, 2021

Country sad over insult to Tricolour on January 26 vandalism: PM Modi

New Delhi: In his first remarks on the violence and vandalism on Republic Day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said the country was sad to “see the insult to the Tricolour”.

Today, India is undertaking the world’s biggest Covid vaccine programme

Addressing the country through his first ‘Mann Ki Baat’ monthly radio programme this year, the Prime Minister said the incident occurred days after when the country celebrated Lohri, Makar Sankranti, Pongal and Bihu festivals as well as the Indian cricket team’s victory on Australia and the celebration of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose’s 125th birth anniversary as ‘Parakram Divas’.

Unprecedented chaos was unleashed upon Delhi on the 72nd Republic Day as the tractor rally by the protesting farmers went off the designated course and rolled into the iconic Mughal-era Red Fort in the Old City. A protester died on the way and over 300 security forces were injured in the incident. The farmers entered the forecourt of the Red Fort, climbed its ramparts, and hoisted a religious flag on a mast outside where the Prime Minister unfurls the Tricolour every year on Independence Day.

“…On January 26, seeing the insult of the Tricolour, the country was very sad,” the Prime Minister said.

Modi further urged each countrymen to “fill the future with new hope and newness and prove our resolve by working hard as like we showed exceptional restraint and courage last year”.

As India’s Covid inoculation drive completes 15 days, Prime Minister said the programme is “faster than anywhere in the world” and India in the process has left the US as well as the UK far behind in the exercise.

Mentioning that the beginning of this year marks the completion of almost one year of our battle against coronavirus and that India’s fight against the pandemic became an example, the Prime Minister said our vaccination programme too is turning out to be exemplary for the world.

“Today, India is undertaking the world’s biggest Covid vaccine programme. Do you know what’s a matter of more pride? Along with the biggest vaccine programme, we are vaccinating our citizens faster than anywhere in the world,” Modi said.

“In just 15 days, India has vaccinated over 30 lakh Corona Warriors, whereas an advanced country such as US took 18 days to get the same done; Britain 36 days!”

The Prime Minister further said the Made-in-India vaccine is, of course, a symbol of India’s self-reliance and a symbol of her self-pride.

Citing appreciation received on the vaccination drive, Modi said many Indians have written messages on ‘NamoApp’ that the vaccine has generated a new self-confidence.

“These days,” he said, “I too receive similar messages for India from Presidents and Prime Ministers of different countries.”

“You must also have seen recently how the President of Brazil, thanked India in a tweet….”

He also lauded India’s efforts in providing the Serum Institute of India’s Covishield vaccine and Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin to a number of foreign countries, including the Maldives, Sri Lanka and Nepal.

“In this vaccination programme, you must have noticed something more. During the moment of crisis, India is able to serve the world today since it is capable, self-reliant in the field of medicines and 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.”

India launched its vaccination drive against Covid-19 on January 16 and aims to first inoculate three crore health and frontline workers. While so far only healthcare workers were getting inoculated, now frontline workers will also start getting the doses from the first week of February.

The Prime Minister later wished those who were awarded Padma Awards — one of the highest civilian honours of India announced annually on the eve of Republic Day.

The awards are given in three categories — Padma Vibhushan (for exceptional and distinguished service), Padma Bhushan (distinguished service of higher order) and Padma Shri (distinguished service). The awards seek to recognise achievements in all fields of activities or disciplines where an element of public service is involved.

The Padma Awards are conferred on the recommendations made by the Padma Awards Committee, which is constituted by the Prime Minister every year. The nomination process is open to the public. Even self-nomination can be made.

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