New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the violence that took place in Delhi amid the farmers’ tractor rally on Republic Day in his monthly ‘Mann Ki Baat’ address Sunday, saying the nation was shocked to witness the insult meted out to the Tricolour on 26 January.
Thousands of farmers camping at Singhu and Tikri border points of Delhi broke through police barricades on Republic Day as they deviated from the pre-approved route to carry out a tractor rally in protest against the Centre’s three contentious laws. Many of the protesters reached the Red Fort and entered the monument, with some even hoisting religious flags from its ramparts. The police resorted to lathi-charge and lobbed tear gas shells to disperse the crowd and prevent it from advancing.
But he also struck a positive note, urging citizens to “fill the coming days with hope and novelty”, and reiterating his government’s commitment to modernising agriculture.
India’s agriculture sector, Modi added, was fast adapting to the latest technology.
“The income of farmers is also increasing. Experiments like strawberry festivals not only exhibit a spirit of innovation, but they also show how our nation’s farming sector is embracing new technology. The government is committed to modernising the agriculture sector and taking many steps. The efforts of the government will continue in future as well,” Modi added.
On Covid and vaccines
Modi also spoke about India’s fight against the Covid-19 pandemic in his ‘Mann Ki Baat’ programme, and said the country exhibited extraordinary restraint and courage last year. “This year too, we need to work hard to fulfill our resolutions,” he said.
“Just as India’s war against coronavirus became an example to the world, our vaccination programme too is becoming a model globally. India is conducting the biggest Covid-19 immunisation programme in the world,” he said.
The PM said India was the fastest nation to vaccinate citizens. “In merely 15 days, India has vaccinated more than 30 lakh coronavirus warriors, while a rich country like the US completed the same target in 18 days and UK in 36 days.”
The Made-in-India Covid-19 vaccine, said the PM, was not only a symbol of ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ (self-reliant India) but also its self-pride. “You must have noticed about the vaccination programme that India is able to help others because the country today is self-reliant in the field of medicines and vaccines,” he added.
Praise for cricketers, women pilots
The PM also lauded the Indian cricket team’s recent performance in the Test series in Australia, talking about how the team had “gloriously” bounced back to come out triumphant in Brisbane earlier this month.
Modi also spoke about the increased participation of women in various fields.
“You must have heard a few days back that four Indian women pilots commanded a direct flight from San Francisco in the US to Bengaluru. The flight, covering a distance of over 10,000 km, brought over 225 people to India. You must have seen two women IAF officers creating history in this year’s Republic Day parade. Be it any field, participation of the nation’s women is continuously increasing,” he said.