India To Start World’s Biggest Vaccination Drive: PM

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  PM Narendra Modi gestures as he speaks at the National Metrology Conclave via videoconferencing | PTI

New Delhi- The world’s biggest inoculation drive against coronavirus is set to begin in the country, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Monday, a day after India’s drugs regulator approved two vaccines for restricted emergency use.

Lauding the scientists and technicians for the ‘Made in India’ vaccines, he said the country is proud of them.

“World’s biggest COVID-19 vaccination programme set to begin in India. For this, the country is proud of the contributions of its scientists and technicians,” Modi said.

India’s drugs regulator on Sunday approved Oxford COVID-19 vaccine Covishield, manufactured by the Serum Institute, and indigenously developed Covaxin of Bharat Biotech for restricted emergency use in the country, paving the way for a massive inoculation drive.

Addressing scientists at the National Metrology Conclave, Modi also said that it must be ensured that ‘Made in India’ products not only have a global demand but also global acceptance.

“Quality is as much important as quantity, our standards should rise with our scale in our quest for Aatmanirbhar Bharat,” he stressed.

The prime minister said in any progressive society, research is key and effective and its effects are commercial and social. They also help widen approach and thinking.

“We do not want to fill the world with Indian products, but we must win the hearts of every customer of Indian products in every corner of the world,” he said.

Quality of services in our country and products, both public or private sector, will determine India’s strength in the world, he stressed.

The prime minister pointed out that historically any country has progressed in direct correlation to its effort to promote science. He termed this ‘value creation cycle’ of Science, Technology and Industry.

He said scientific invention creates technology and this leads to industry development. Industry, in turn, invests further in science for new research.

“This value creation cycle of science to mass creation has become all the more important in today’s world when the country is moving forward with the goal of ‘Aatmanirbhar’ India. CSIR will have to play its role in this,” he said.

Modi also dedicated the National Atomic Timescale and Bhartiya Nirdeshak Dravya Pranali to the nation and laid the foundation stone of the National Environmental Standards Laboratory through video conference.

The conclave was organised by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research-National Physical Laboratory (CSIR-NPL), New Delhi, on its 75th year of inception. The NPL is one of the oldest laboratories in the country.

The NPL has adopted an international practice for production of Indian Certified Reference Material (CRMs) Trademarked as Bhartiya Nirdeshak Dravya.

Describing the NPL as India’s timekeeper, Modi said it also has the responsibility to change the future of India.

He urged the institute to come forward and play an important role in keeping with new standards and benchmarks to proceed towards forging a self-reliant India.

Modi said metrology also sets the foundation for any scientific achievement and no research can proceed without measurements.

“Even our achievement has to be measured on some scale. The credibility of the country in the world will be dependent on the reliability of its metrology. Metrology is like a mirror showing us our standing in the world, the scope for improvement,” he said.

Talking about the the Bhartiya Nirdeshak Dravya, he said this would help the industry to make quality products in sectors like heavy metals, pesticides, pharma and textiles by drafting a ‘Certified Reference Material System’.

Modi noted that now the industry is moving towards a consumer oriented approach instead of a regulation centric approach.

He said complying with international standards will help the large foreign manufacturing companies coming to India find a local supply chain.

He said with the new standards the quality of both export and import would be ensured. It will also provide quality goods to the general consumer of India and reduce problems faced by the exporter.

Expressing happiness over the National Atomic Timescale, Modi said India has become self-reliant in measuring the time within the range of a nano second.

This will be a big help for organisations like ISRO which are working with cutting edge technology. Modern technology related banking, railways, defence, health, telecom, weather forecast, disaster management and many similar sectors will be benefited greatly from this achievement, he said.

The prime minister said the timescale will also hlep in strengthening India’s role in Industry 4.0.

“India is moving towards a leading position in the field of environment. Still, for technology and tools for measuring air quality and emission, India is dependent on others. This achievement will lead to self-reliance in the field and will lead to creation of more effective and cheaper tools for pollution control.

“This will also enhance India’s share in the global market for technologies related to air quality and emission technology,” he said.

Modi said institutionalisation of innovation is equally critical as the innovation itself.

“Our youth will have to understand how to protect intellectual property. We will have to remember that the more our patents are there, the more their utility. Our identity will get strong in the sectors where our research is strong and leading. This will lead to a stronger Brand India,” Modi said.

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