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Modi lauds people for discipline during COVID lockdown, elders’ enthusiasm in accepting vaccine
New Delhi, March 28, 2021
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said the people of India had set an unprecedented example of discipline in following the COVID-19 lockdown rules including the “Janata curfew” from March last year and at present, the elderly were at the forefront, getting themselves vaccinated to gain immunity from the COVID-19 virus.
Delivering the 75th episode of his monthly “Mann Ki Baat” address over All India Radio (AIR), Modi said the people had honoured the Corona warriors, the health workers and all others involved in the fight against the virus by ringing "thaalis", applauding and lighting a lamp.
“You cannot imagine how much it had touched the hearts of Corona Warriors…and that is the very reason they resolutely held on the whole year, without tiring, without halting. Steadfastly, they endured to save the life of each and every citizen of the country,” he added.
“Last year, around this time, the question that was looming was...by when would the Corona vaccine come? Friends, it is a matter of honour for everyone that, today, India is running the world’s largest vaccination programme.”
In this context, he said reports were coming from across the country of the enthusiasm shown by the elderly in getting themselves vaccinated. They included 109-year-old Ram Dulaiya from Jaunpur, Uttar Pradesh, 107-year-old Kewal Krishna in Delhi and 100-year-old Jai Chaudhary in Hyderabad. The Prime Minister appealed to all to take the vaccine and at the same time take all protective measures like wearing a mask. “Dawai Bhi Aur Kadaai Bhi,” he said.
Noting that the 75th episode of Mann Ki Baat coincided with the launch of the "Amrit Mahotsav" of the 75 years of Independence this month from the day of Mahatma Gandhi’s Dandi Yatra on March 12, he expressed happiness at being able to speak to people across the country and learn about their extraordinary work.
“During these 75 episodes, one went through a multitude of subjects. At times, there was a reference to rivers; at other times, the peaks of the Himalayas were touched upon…sometimes matters pertaining to deserts; at other times taking up natural disasters…sometimes soaking in innumerable stories on service to humanity…in some, inventions in technology; in others, the story of an experience of doing something novel in an unknown corner! You see, whether it’s about sanitation or a discussion on conserving our heritage; and not just that, reference to making toys, what is it that was not there? Perhaps, the sheer number of topics that we touched upon would turn out to be countless!
“During all this, from time to time, we paid tributes to great luminaries whose contribution to the building of India has been unparalleled; we learnt about them. We also spoke on many global matters; we have tried to derive inspiration from them. There were many points that you told me; you gave me many ideas. In a way, in this ‘Vichar Yatra’, journey of thought and idea, you kept walking together, kept connecting, adding something new throughout,” he added.
Saying that while International Women’s Day was celebrated this month, several women sports personalities brought honour to the country. Recently Mitaali Raaj became the first Indian woman cricketer to have made 10,000 runs. She also is the only international woman player to score 7000 runs in one-day internationals.
India bagged the top position during the ISSF World Cup shooting organised at Delhi. India also topped the Gold Medals tally. This was possible because of the fabulous display by Indian women and men shooters. Meanwhile, P V Sindhu won the Silver Medal in the BWF Swiss Open Super 300 Tournament. He noted that from education to entrepreneurship, armed forces to science and technology, women making a distinct mark everywhere and Sports was coming up as a preferred choice in professional choices.
Modi said he was glad that his suggestion in an earlier episode for developing tourism facilities around lighthouses was being taken up seriously. Guru Prasad from Chennai had visited two lighthouses in 2019.
“Because of their grand structures, lighthouses have always been centres of attraction for people. To promote tourism 71 lighthouses have been identified in India too. In all these lighthouses, depending on their capacities, museums, amphitheatres, open-air theatres, cafeterias, children’s parks, eco-friendly cottages and landscaping will be built.
Saying that modernisation of Indian agriculture was the need of the hour, Modi noted that adoption of new alternatives, new innovations, along with traditional farming were important to create new opportunities for employment in the agriculture sector and to increase the income of farmers.
“The country has experienced it during the white revolution. Now bee farming is emerging as a similar alternative. Bee farming is becoming the foundation of a honey revolution or sweet revolution in the country. Farmers in large numbers are associating with it,” he said.
Gurdum in Darjeeling, West Bengal is located amid steep mountains. Despite geographical problems, people started the work of honey bee farming and today, there is a sizeable demand for honey harvested at this place. This is also increasing the income of farmers. The natural organic honey of the Sunderbans areas of West Bengal is in great demand in our country and the world, he said.
“I also have had one such personal experience in Gujarat. An event was organized in the year 2016 in Banaskantha, Gujarat. In that programme, I had told the people that there were so many possibilities here… why not Banaskantha and the farmers here write a new chapter of the sweet revolution? You will be happy to know that in such a short time, Banaskantha has become a major centre for honey production. Today, farmers of Banaskantha are earning lakhs of rupees annually through honey.
"There is a similar example too from Yamuna Nagar, Haryana. In Yamuna Nagar, farmers are producing several hundred tons of honey annually, enhancing their income by doing bee farming. The result of this hard work of the farmers is that the production of honey in the country is continuously increasing, and annually, nearly 1.25 lakh tonnes is produced and out of this product, a large quantity of honey is also being exported.
“Bee wax is also a very big source of income. There is demand for bee wax in everything…pharmaceutical, food, textile and cosmetic industries Our country currently imports bee wax, but our farmers are now rapidly transforming this situation…that is, in a way contributing in the ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ campaign.
“Today the whole world is looking at Ayurveda and Natural Health Products. In such a situation, the demand for honey is increasing even more rapidly. I wish more and more farmers of our country to join bee farming along with their farming,” he added.
Referring to the World Sparrow Day celebrated a few days ago, he said, Indrapal Singh Batra in Varanasi got such wooden nests made in his house for the sparrows. Today, many others are joining this campaign.
He also noted that Bijay Kumar Kabiji from Kendrapada on the Odisha coast took the initiative to raise a 25-acre mangrove forest on the outskirts of the village towards the sea. Today this forest is protecting this village.
Students of St. Teresa's College in Kochi, Kerala were making reusable toys using old clothes, discarded wooden pieces, bags and boxes into making toys. These toys are given to children in Anganwadis, he said.