Prime Minister Narendra Modi is sharing a message with the citizens. “Will be sharing a message with my fellow citizens at 6 PM this evening,” PM Modi tweeted earlier today, appealing everyone to join him. Earlier, the Prime Minister had addressed the nation through his monthly radio programme ‘Mann Ki Baat’ on September 27.

Addressing the function of Grand Challenges Annual Meeting 2020 via video conferencing, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said “India’s size, scale and diversity have always made the global community curious. Our population is almost four times that of the USA. Many of our states are as populated as other nations in Europe and Asia. Thanks to people power and people-driven approach, India kept its COVID-19 death rate very low.”

“Today we are seeing a decline in the number of cases per day and in the growth rate of cases. India has one of the highest recovery rates–88 per cent. This happened because India was one of the first countries to adopt a flexible lockdown when the total cases were just a few hundred,” Modi said.

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The Prime Minister said India was one of the first to encourage the use of masks. India actively began to work on effective contact tracing. India was one of the earliest to deploy the Rapid Antigen test. India is now at the forefront of vaccine development for COVID. Some of them are in advanced stages.

“We are not stopping here. India is already working on putting a well-established vaccine delivery mechanism in place. This digitized network along with digital health ID will be used to ensure immunisation of our citizens,” he said.

Speaking about the meeting, he said, this meeting was to be held physically in India, but in changed circumstances, it is being held virtually. “Such is the power of technology that the global pandemic did not keep us apart. This programme has continued as per schedule. This shows the commitment of the grand challenges community. This shows our commitment to adapt and innovate,” he said.

“The future will be shaped by a society that invests in science and innovation. But this cannot be done in a short-sighted manner. One has to invest in science and innovation well in advance. That is when we can reap benefits at the right time. Similarly, the journey to these innovations must be shaped by collaboration and public participation,” he said.

The Prime Minister said that the scale of this programme is commendable. “In 15 years you have engaged several nations. The nature of the issues addressed is diverse. You have addressed problems such as antimicrobial resistance, maternal and child health, agriculture, nutrition, water, sanitation and hygiene.”

He further said, “It has taken a global pandemic to make us realise yet again the importance of teamwork. Diseases do not have geographical boundaries. They do not discriminate on grounds of faith, race, gender, or colour. And by disease I am not only talking about the pandemic situation: there are several communicable and non-communicable diseases that are impacting people, especially youngsters.”

“In India, we have a strong and vibrant scientific community. We also have good scientific institutions. They have been India’s greatest assets, especially during the last several months while fighting COVID-19. From containment to capacity building they have achieved wonders,” he added.

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