‘New India’ can meet difficult targets: PM Modi

In his address, PM Modi urged Indians to show courage and resolve, follow "Lakshman Rekha" for several days more. (PTI). Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

NEW DELHI, Oct 23, 2021, The Tribune. Terming the vaccine century milestone as a sign of new India that can set and achieve mighty goals, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday cautioned people against laxity during festivals and urged them to buy local goods as they ride the wave of what he called “all-round positivity and optimism”, spurred by 100 crore-plus Covid doses, The Tribune reported.

“No matter how strong the shield, we can’t drop our weapons till the Covid war is on,” the PM said in a 20-minute televised address to the nation a day after India became the second country after China to deliver over one billion shots to its people.

Modi asked people to make mask-wearing a habit and hailed the 100 crore vaccine dose landmark as a “picture of new India which can set and achieve high targets and can tirelessly work to achieve its goals”. As he reflected on the challenges faced since the outbreak of the pandemic, the PM said one billion shots was an answer to cynics who questioned how a democratic country like India could vaccinate such a large population in time to beat the pandemic. “Administering 100 crore plus doses is not just a statistic.

It is a reflection of the Indian capacity to script history and a matter of pride for every citizen,” said the PM, speaking of the government’s “free vaccine programme”. He said questions were raised from the start about Indian preparedness, considering the nation’s conventional dependence on the West for vaccines.

Hailing the national Covid inoculation programme as science-born, science-driven and science-based, the PM said it was not allowed to be overwhelmed by VIP culture. “If the disease did not discriminate, why should the vaccination programme discriminate?” he asked, adding the feat would cement India’s place as the pharmacy of the world and was already spurring “all-round optimism”.

“The world will see India as a safer destination now. There is new energy everywhere, the economy is looking up and the world is bullish on India. This is the time to buy local and make “vocal for local” a mass campaign like ‘Clean India’,” said the PM ahead of Diwali.

In apparent jibes at the Opposition, he noted Indians made collective participation their first line of defence against Covid.

“We clapped and clanged thalis, lit diyas to harness energies. Some people asked if this would defeat Covid but we saw in it unity and the power of collective resolve,” the Prime Minister remarked.

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