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New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday lauded the efforts of health workers for making India cross 1 billion jabs since the covid-19 vaccination started in the country.

Speaking in his 82nd monthly radio programme Mann Ki Baat, PM Modi also pitched for buying domestically manufactured goods in the run up to festival season.

The government has been making a concerted push for boosting domestic manufacturing capacity in the backdrop of demand rebound, after the economy was brought to a standstill during the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic that originated in Wuhan, China.

“When so many festivals happen together then their preparations also start long before. All of you must have started planning for shopping from now on, but do you remember, shopping means 'VOCAL FOR LOCAL'. If you buy local, then your festival will also be illuminated and the house of a poor brother or sister, an artisan, or a weaver will also be lit up. I am sure that the campaign which we all have started together will be stronger this time during the festivals," Modi said.

The government is trying to revive the economy that nosedived due to the pandemic. While the Reserve Bank of India expects Indian economy to grow at 9.5%, the World Bank and ratings agency Moody’s have pegged India’s GDP growth at 8.3% and 9.3% respectively. Moody’s Investors Service has also revised its sovereign credit rating outlook for India to stable from negative.

"And I am saying ‘koti-koti namaskar’ also since after crossing the 100 crore vaccine doses, the country is surging ahead with a new zeal; renewed energy," PM Modi said.

While more than 31% of the eligible population has been fully vaccinated, 75% have received their first dose, the government said on Thursday.

“It is on account of the hard work put in by lakhs of health workers like you that India could cross the hundred crore vaccine doses mark. Today, I am gratefully expressing thanks, not just to you but to every Bharatvasi, every Indian who raised the ‘Sabko vaccine – Muft vaccine’ campaign to such lofty heights of success," PM Modi said while speaking to a healthcare worker from Uttarakhand.

According to the health ministry, the first 100 million doses were administered in 85 days, while the last 100 million doses were given in just 24 days. Since 6 August, when India breached the 500 million dose mark, it took just 76 days to go past the 1 billion-dose mark.

While hailing the services of police force and speaking about gender equality, PM Modi said that the number of women police personnel and those in Central Armed Police Forces have doubled.

“The statistics from the Bureau of Police Research and Development show that in the last few years, the number of women police personnel has doubled. In 2014, while their number was close to 1 lakh 5 thousand, by 2020 it has increased by more than double and this number has now reached up to 2 lakh 15 thousand," Modi said and added, “Even in the Central Armed Police Forces, the number of women has almost doubled in the last seven years."

In the run up to the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow PM Modi also spoke about the sacrifices made by Indian tribal freedom fighter Birsa Munda.

“If we have to learn to love nature and the environment, then for that too, Dharati Aaba Bhagwan Birsa Munda is one of our greatest inspirations. He strongly opposed every such policy of foreign rule, which was detrimental for the environment," he said.

This comes in the backdrop of India resisting the pressure of declaring a net zero emission goal. Instead, India has called out nations on their carbon neutral intent announcements and termed its as ‘meaningless’.

PM Modi also spoke about national competitions on patriotic songs, rangoli and lullaby. In the run up to the National Unity Day being celebrated on 31 October on the birth anniversary of India’s first deputy prime minister Sardar Patel, Modi spoke about bike rallies being taken out by the police personnel of different states.

“During the freedom struggle patriotic songs and devotional songs in different languages, dialects had united the entire country. Now in this Amrit kaal, our young people can instill this event with energy by writing such patriotic songs," he said and added, “Just imagine, when a Rangoli related to the freedom movement will be created, people will draw a picture of a hero of the freedom struggle at their door, on their wall and depict an event of our independence movement with colours, hues of the Amrit festival will also increase manifold."

Modi in his eighth Independence Day speech from the ramparts of the Red Fort called for an amrit kaal—for the 25 years until India celebrates 100 years of its independence—to meet all growth imperatives.

“Lullabies also have their own diversity. So why don't we, in the amrit kaal period, revive this art also and write lullabies pertaining to patriotism, write poems, songs, something or the other which can be easily recited by mothers in every home to their little children," he said.

The country is celebrating Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav, commemorating 75 years of India’ independence. Freedom struggle, and ideas, achievements, actions and resolve at 75, are the five pillars of the 75 week-long celebrations.

He also spoke about cleanliness, stopping single use plastic usage and use of drones in the backdrop of India recently notifying a new liberalised drone policy.

“India is one of the first countries in the world, which is preparing digital records of land in its villages with the help of drones. India is working extensively on using drones for transportation. Whether it is farming in the village or delivery of goods at home; Providing help in emergency or monitoring law and order ; it is not long before we will see drones being deployed for all these needs of ours. Most of these have already started," Modi said.

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