New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who completed seven years in office this week, lauded ‘Team India’’s efforts in achieving milestone success, in sectors ranging from agriculture to water connectivity and in solving long-pending internal disputes (a reference to the Ram Mandir issue) and giving befitting replies to countries that conspired against India – a feat that had not been possible in the 70 preceding years, he said. The Prime Minister gave credit to the people of the country for all this.
The Prime Minister was speaking as part of his Mann Ki Baat address to the nation.
Modi, who is facing severe criticism for the short supply of medical oxygen during the second wave of the Covid pandemic, tried to evade the issue by saying that this type of pandemic occurred once in hundreds of years and there was no prior experience in dealing with such a pandemic. But the people’s spirit and firm resolve had helped fight both the first and second Covid waves in the country, he said.
The Prime Minister in his 77 Mann Ki Baat address said that the country had not only worked together as a team in the past seven years, but had continued to do so during the pandemic. The central government, state government, local agencies and the citizens of the country had all come together to fight the pandemic, while at the same time facing natural disasters, such as the cyclones Tauktae and Yaas, which recently hit the country.
“In the past seven years, the country has worked on the mantra ‘sabka saath, sabka vikas, sabka biswas’,” said the Prime Minister, adding that the “country has functioned on its own beliefs and resolutions and not bowed down to pressure from any other country. When the people of the country see their nation giving befitting replies to conspiracies by other countries, their confidence also goes up. We have resolved longstanding dispute peacefully, and achieved progress in all sectors – from agriculture to digital transaction, Ayushmann Bharat, water and road connectivity… we have achieved more than in the preceding 70 years and that has happened only because we have worked as team India, worked as a united country.”
The Prime Minister cautioned that “where there is success, there are also challenges. The Covid pandemic is one such challenge. While many more advanced countries could not escape the ravages of Covid, we fought the first wave collectively and will also defeat the second wave with collective resolve”.
‘Oxygen production increased 10 times’
At a time when the central government is facing flak from the Opposition for the shortage of medical oxygen in the country to treat Covid patients, the Prime Minister devoted approximately half his address in taking about the oxygen supply in the country and in lauding the effort of frontline workers – from drivers to air force officers, who have worked relentlessly to ensure that there is supply of oxygen across the country.
Responding to critics, Modi said that the government had no previous experience in dealing with any such pandemic. Asserting that the available oxygen supply in the country has been increased to meet growing demands from patients, the Prime Minister said that before the second wave, “India used to produce 900 metric tonnes of liquid oxygen in a day, but the capacity has now been increased by more than 10 times, to about 9,500 metric tonnes daily”.
Modi also highlighted the contribution of railway officials and officers of the navy and air force in ensuring supply of oxygen in the country, and said that he had spoken to three such people – Dinesh Upadhyaya, a truck driver from Uttar Pradesh who shared with the PM his experience of transporting oxygen from a factory, a driver of an Oxygen Express train – started by the railways to transport medical oxygen across the country – and a captain in the air force, A. K. Patnaik, who had briefed the Prime Minister in detail about how the air force had completed 1,600 sorties in the past one month to supply oxygen and had carried out 160 international missions to procure oxygen concentrators from Singapore, Belgium, Germany and the UK.
The Prime minister said “the navy, air force, railways and frontline workers had all contributed to defeating Covid,” and this support is our biggest strength”.
The PM also praised the people of states affected by the two recent cyclones that hit the country and said that the country had been able to save more lives this time, since everyone had worked as a team.