Sunday, March 7, 2021

Saddened by insult to Tricolour on R-Day: PM

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The country has been saddened by the “insult to the Tricolour” on Republic Day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Sunday in his monthly Mann Ki Baat radio address, referring to the hoisting of the Sikh religious flag and a farmers’ union flag next to the national flag by protesting farmers at Red Fort.

In his first address to the nation in 2021, a day before finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman presents the Union budget in Parliament, Modi celebrated India’s vaccination drive against the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) and the Indian cricket team’s triumph against Australia in the Test series, and called for the infusion of a new hope.

“This month, there has been very good news from the cricket pitch too,” the PM said in his radio address, which he delivers on the last Sunday of every month. ”Our cricket team, after initial setbacks, made a grand comeback, winning the series in Australia. The hard work and teamwork of our players is inspirational. Amidst all this, the country was saddened by the insult to the Tricolour on the 26th of January in Delhi.”

He added: “We have to infuse times to come with new hope…Last year, we displayed exemplary patience and courage {in the fight against the viral disease}. This year too, we have to work hard to attain our resolve. We have to take our country forward at a faster pace.”

Watch: India was shocked to witness insult of tricolor on Republic Day, says PM



A tractor rally by farmers to protest against three laws passed by Parliament in September to open up agricultural markets turned violent at Red Fort on Republic Day. In expressing his sadness at the insult to the Tricolour, Modi echoed the sentiment expressed by President Ram Nath Kovind, who said in his speech to Parliament on Friday that the “national flag and a holy day like Republic Day were insulted in the past few days.”

Referring to India’s vaccination programme against the coronavirus disease that is currently underway, the Prime Minister said the country’s fight against the pandemic had been “exemplary” to the world.

“My dear countrymen, the beginning of this year marks the completion of almost one year of our battle against Corona. Just as India’s fight against Corona became an example, our vaccination programme too is turning out to be exemplary to the world. Today, India is undertaking the world’s biggest Covid vaccine programme. Do you know what’s a matter of more pride?”

PM Modi said India was vaccinating its citizens at a faster pace than anywhere else. “In just 15 days, India has vaccinated over 30 lakh Corona warriors whereas an advanced country such as America took 18 days to get the same done; Britain 36 days,” he said.

And referring to India’s diplomatic outreach to other countries through shipments of the made-in-India Covid-19 vaccines, he said he had received messages from Presidents and Prime Ministers of countries around the world.

“You must also have seen recently how the President of Brazil, in a tweet thanked India – every Indian was gladdened at that….Friends, in this vaccination programme, you must have noticed something more! During the moment of crisis, India is able to serve the world today since she is capable, self-reliant in the field of medicines, vaccines. The same thought underpins the Atmanirbhar Bharat {Self-Reliant India} campaign. The more India is capable, the more will she serve humanity; correspondingly the world will benefit more,” he added.

In the backdrop of the country observing a Road Safety month between January 18 and February 17, the prime minister said road accidents were a matter of concern not just in India, but also the world over. He also said in the same context that the government’s FASTag programme had reduced idling time at toll plazas by more than half.

FASTag is a radio frequency identification sticker typically fixed to a vehicle’s windscreen that allows the deduction of toll wirelessly and automatically without requiring a vehicle to stop at plazas.

“Earlier, a vehicle used to take on an average seven to eight minutes to cross our toll plazas. However, since the emergence of FASTag, this time has reduced to around one and a half minutes to 2 minutes on an average. Due to this reduced waiting time at the toll plaza, fuel too is being saved. It is estimated that this will save approximately 21,000 crore of our countrymen,” he said.

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