Prime Minister Narendra Modi (File photo)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi (File photo)

About 60% of India’s youth got COVID vaccine in just 3- 4 weeks, says Modi in ‘Mann Ki Baat’

New Delhi, January 30, 2022

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said today that, with about 4.5 crore children having been administered the COVID vaccine, about 60% of youth in the age group of 15 to 18 years have been covered in just three to four weeks.

Delivering his monthly address “Mann Ki Baat’ over All India Radio, Modi said India was fighting the new wave of COVID-19 with great success. “The vaccine will not only protect our youth but also help them to continue with their studies. Another good thing is that within 20 days, one crore people have taken the precaution dose as well. This trust of our countrymen in the indigenous vaccine is our great strength.

“Now the cases of COVID infection have also started decreasing. This is a very positive sign. People should be safe, the pace of economic activities of the country should be maintained, this is the wish of every citizen,” he added.

The Prime Minister said that, in the Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, the 75th year of independence, India was reestablishing its national symbols. “We saw that the 'Amar Jawan Jyoti' near India Gate and the Jyoti at the 'National War Memorial' in the vicinity, were merged. There were tears in the eyes of many countrymen and martyr families on this emotional occasion. At the 'National War Memorial', the names of all the bravehearts of the country who have been martyred since Independence have been inscribed.

“Some former soldiers of the army have written to me saying that the 'Amar Jawan Jyoti' lit at the memorial is a symbol of the immortality of the martyrs. Truly, like 'Amar Jawan Jyoti' our martyrs, their inspiration and their contributions are also immortal. I would urge all of you to certainly visit the 'National War Memorial' whenever you get an opportunity. Do take along your family and children too. Here you will feel a different energy and inspiration,” he said.

He also referred to the installation of a hologram statue of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose at the canopy near India Gate and the decision for holding a week-long extended Republic Day celebrations from this year. It will be held from January 23, the birth anniversary of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose to January 30, the death anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, observed as Martyrs Day.

Referring to the national awards announced during the Republic Day celebrations, he said the Pradhan Mantri Rashtriya Baal Puraskaar were for the children who have rendered courageous and inspirational work at a young age.

“There are many names among the recipients of Padma awards, about whom very few people know. These are the unsung heroes of our country, who have done extraordinary deeds in ordinary circumstances. For example, Basanti Devi of Uttarakhand, who has been honoured with Padma Shri, lived her whole life amid struggles. Her husband died at an early age and she had started living in an ashram. Staying there, she fought to save the river and made an extraordinary contribution to the environment. She has also done a lot of work for the empowerment of women.

“Similarly, 77-year-old Lorembam Beino Devi of Manipur has been conserving the Liba textile art of Manipur for decades. She has also been awarded the Padma Shri. Arjun Singh of Madhya Pradesh has received the Padma award for imparting recognition to the art of Baiga tribal dance. Another person to receive the Padma award is Shriman Amai Mahalinga Naik. He is a farmer and hails from Karnataka. Some people also call him Tunnel Man. He has made such innovations in agriculture, seeing which anyone could be surprised. Small farmers are getting huge benefits from his efforts. There are many more such unsung heroes who have been honoured by the country for their contribution. You must try to know about them. We will get to learn a lot from them in life,” he added.

On the letters and messages received by him, including many suggestions in connection with The Amrit Mahotsav, he said something has happened which was unforgettable for him. “More than one crore children have written to me through their 'Mann Ki Baat' postcards. These one crore postcards have come from different parts of the country; they have also come from abroad. I have tried to take time out to read many of these postcards. These postcards show how broad and wide is the vision of our new generation for the future of the country.

There was a postcard of Riddhima Swargiyari from Guwahati, Assam. Riddhima, a 7th class student wants to see India in the 100th year of independence which is the cleanest country in the world, free of terrorism, including in the 100% literate countries, zero accident country and capable of food security with sustainable technology.

“Riddhima, what our daughters think, the dreams they see for the country, do come true. When everyone's efforts come together, when your young generation will work towards this goal, you will definitely make India the way you want her to be.

Similarly, Navya Verma of Prayagraj, Uttar Pradesh dreams for 2047 of an India where everyone has a dignified life, where farmers are prosperous and there was no corruption.

“Navya, your dream for the country is very commendable. The country is also moving rapidly in this direction. You talked about a corruption-free India. Corruption hollows the country like a termite. Why wait for 2047 to get rid of it? All of us countrymen, today's youth have to do this work together, as soon as possible and for this, we must give priority to our duties. Where duty is felt, is paramount, corruption cannot even think of entering there,” he said.

"Mohammed Ibrahim from Chennai wants to see India as a major power in the field of defence in 2047. He wants that India should have its research base on the Moon, and start the work of settling the human population on Mars. Ibrahim also sees a big role for India in making the earth free from pollution. Ibrahim, nothing is impossible for a country that has youth like you.

"Laurencio Pereira, a student of class 12th in Goa has written about the Unsung Heroes of Freedom, including Bhikaji Cama whowas one of the bravest women involved in the Indian freedom struggle. She carried out many campaigns in the country and abroad to empower daughters and organized many exhibitions. In 1907, she hoisted the tricolor in Germany. The person who supported her in designing this tricolor was Shyamji Krishna Varma who died in 1930 in Geneva.

“His last wish was that after India's independence, his ashes should be brought to India. Although his ashes should have been brought back to India on the very next day of independence in 1947, this did not happen. Maybe it was the wish of the Almighty to assign me this work... and I was fortunate to fulfil this duty. In the year 2003, when I was the Chief Minister of Gujarat, his ashes were brought to India. A memorial has also been constructed in the memory of Shyamji Krishna Varma at his birthplace, Mandvi in Kutch,” he added.

“Friends, the enthusiasm of India’s Azaadi ka Amrit Mahotsav is not limited to our country. I have also received 75 postcards from Croatia, a friendly country of India. Students of the School of Applied Arts and Design in Zagreb, Croatia have sent these 75 cards to the people of India and congratulated them on the Amrit Mahotsav. On behalf of all countrymen, I thank Croatia and her people,” he said.

Besides great personalities like Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya, Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Patel, who played an important role in the setting up of the Benares Hindu University, Gujarat Vidyapeeth and Vallabh Vidyanagar respectively, the common people were also contributing towards education in their own way.

“This awareness about education is visible at every level in the society. The example of Taimmal Ji living in the Udumalpet block of Tiruppur district of Tamil Nadu is very inspiring. She does not have any land of her own. For years, her family is making a living by selling coconut water. The financial condition may not be good, but Taimmal had left no stone unturned to educate her son and daughter. Her children studied in Chinnaveerampatti Panchayat Union Middle School.

“One day in the meeting with the parents in the school, the need to improve the condition of the classrooms and school came up. Taimmal, who had accumulated some money by selling coconut water, donated one lakh rupees to the school. She says that once the infrastructure improves, the school which has classes till the 8th standard will be able to upgrade to the higher secondary level.

“Similarly, Jai Chaudhary, an alumnus of BHU, donated one million dollars, about seven and a half crores to IIT BHU Foundation.

“To further enhance such efforts, from September last year, Vidyanjali Abhiyan has also been started in the country. Its objective is to improve the quality of education in schools across the country with the participation of various organizations, CSR and the private sector. Vidyanjali is furthering the spirit of community participation and ownership. To be constantly connected with your school, college, to contribute something according to your ability, it is something whose fulfilment and joy can be felt only through experience,” he added.

Referring to the love for nature and compassion for every living being Indian culture as well as innate nature, he said this was seen when a tiger in Pench Tiger Reserve of Madhya Pradesh, popularly known as "collar wali" (she was the first to be tagged with a tracking collar), designated T-15 by the Forest Department, died. It made people so emotional as if someone of their own had left the world. The collared tigress gave birth to 29 cubs in her lifetime and raised 25 of them to maturity. We also celebrated this life of T-15 and when she left the world, we also gave her a heartfelt farewell.

“This is the speciality of the people of India. We make a relationship of love with every conscious being. We also got to see a similar sight this time in the Republic Day parade as well. In this parade, the charger mount of the President's Bodyguard, Virat took part in his last parade. Virat came to Rashtrapati Bhavan in 2003 and used to lead the parade every time on Republic Day as Commandant Charger. Even when a foreign head of state was welcomed in Rashtrapati Bhavan, Virat used to play this role. This year, on Army Day, Virat was also given COAS Commendation Card by the Army Chief. Given Virat's immense services, after his retirement he was given farewell in an equally grand manner,” he said.

The Prime Minister also referred to the one-horned rhino of Assam whose numbers had come down due to poaching. As many as 37 rhinos were killed by poachers in 2013 and 32 in 2014.

“To tackle this challenge, a huge campaign against the poaching of rhinoceros was launched in the last seven years with the special efforts of the Assam government. On the 22nd of September last year, on the occasion of World Rhino Day, more than 2400 horns seized from smugglers were burnt. This was a stern message to the poachers. The result of such efforts is that now there is a steady decrease in the hunting of rhinos in Assam. The killings have come down to two in 2020 and one in 2021. I appreciate the resolve of the people of Assam to save the rhinoceros,” he added.


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