"If you want to do something, achieve something, you can't be thinking all the time of what you don't have" -Kapil Dev. With these thoughts in mind, the legendary Indian Captain marched India to its maiden world cup victory in 1983. The memories are of this match are etched in my mind due to the simple fact that It raised not only my spirit but also the psyche of the entire country. For the first time, Indian's had a chance to prove themselves to the world that India has arrived.
I would like to take this simile to explain the leadership of Honorable Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, who works tirelessly to make India a global superpower. Exactly a year back, we were getting reports of COVID-19 cases in Wuhan, and the Indian system responded immediately with Airport checks and controls. Then came the lockdown. I remember precisely the formation of 12 expert groups to handle the crises. Like the cricket players in 1983, the team India, under our prime minister's leadership, responded and dealt COVID-19. Initially, there were crises for PPE and masks and ramping up the hospital infrastructure. The textile ministry led by my colleague Mrs Smriti Irani gave the necessary permissions. It enabled the ecosystem to make available the indigenous PPE to all Indians. I heard stories about how getting masks was complicated in the UK one year back whereas masks were available to all Indian citizens without any hassle.
The emphasis on COVID appropriate behavior in the form of "Jan Andolan" a clarion call given by Honorable Prime Minister kept the virus at bay. When I look at Corona Virus cases' bell curve, it's heartening to see how we handled the real crises. Among the many highlights, one aspect stands exceptionally outstanding. The development of Indian Vaccine to fight Covid-19 is exemplary and lifted the Indian psyche, the way it did when we won the world cup of 1983. India is one of the few countries (the top 5) to develop its own Vaccine. This herculean task of mobilizing and coordinating work of scientists, industry, regulators would not have been possible if this was not teamwork. I also take this occasion to congratulate my dear colleague Dr Harsh Vardhan who led his health ministry to achieve this incredible feat. The various steps involved started with initial belief and dream that India can make its indigenous Vaccine.
This grandiose dream seen by our Prime Minister percolated deep down in the ecosystem. To achieve such an impossible task needs unity of vision. This vision of developing an indigenous vaccine, available to citizens of the country at an affordable cost seen at the top has quickly trickled down in the industry and scientists. If a favorable ecosystem was made available, our scientists who were waiting to deliver promptly took the challenge. They sequenced the virus's DNA and RNA and found out ways and means to develop the Vaccine. Field trails started with many people questioning the regulators. The regulators had faith in our scientist's ability to deliver. The regulators took a cue from the guidelines of WHO and federal regulators of other countries regarding aspects of emergency authorization. Along with the regulation process, PM Modi emphasized creating awareness among the people about vaccine development and its efficacy. Matters relating to logistics, transportation, and cold chain delivery were taken up to enable vaccine reach in every state.
Under PM Modi's leadership, we have become the first developing country to roll out the Vaccine. Modi Ji impounded everyone's heart by saying "We are launching the world's biggest vaccination drive, and it shows the world our capability". Starting from January 16, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has drawn up plans for vaccinating 300 million people by August, almost the equivalent to the US population. Till date, more than 200,000 vaccinators and 370,000 team members have been trained for the rollout. As a gratitude to the services of frontline healthcare workers, police and the army in the unprecedented times, have been given priority and will be provided vaccination all free of cost.
The collective consciousness to fight against COVID-19 under PM Modi's leadership has helped India gain victory against the unprecedented time. The leader has left no stone unturned in managing the pandemic and leading the country through most difficult times. His astute leadership and resolute belief for the health and safety for men and women, for the elderly and the kids, from metropolis to hinterlands will help build Atmanirbhar Bharat. It is truly a turning point in history, and I appeal to my dear citizens to come forward to be a part of the world's most effective COVID-19 vaccination programme.