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India's scientific community have been India’s greatest assets, especially during the last few months, while fighting Covid-19: PM
Today, we are seeing a decline in the number of cases per day and the growth rate of cases. India has one of the highest recovery rates of 88%: PM
India is already working on putting a well-established vaccine delivery system in place: PM Modi

Namaste!

Melinda and Bill Gates, Union Minister in my Cabinet, Dr Harsh Vardhan, Delegates from across the world, Scientists, Innovators, Researchers, Students, Friends, I am happy to be with all of you, for this sixteenth Grand Challenges Annual Meeting.

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 a global pandemic did not keep us apart. This programme has continued as per schedule. This shows the commitment of the grand challenges community. It shows a commitment to adapt and innovate.

Friends,

The future will be shaped by societies that invest 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. Science will never prosper in silos. The Grand Challenges Programme has understood this ethos well. The scale of this programme is commendable .

In 15 years, you have engaged with several nations globally. The nature of issues addressed is diverse. You have combined bright global talent to address problems such as: Antimicrobial Resistance, Maternal and Child Health, Agriculture, Nutrition, WaSH - water, sanitation and hygiene. And many others are welcome initiatives.

Friends,

It has taken a global pandemic to make us realise yet again the importance of teamwork. Afterall, diseases do not have geographic boundaries. Diseases do not discriminate on the grounds of faith, race, gender or colour. And, by diseases I am not only talking about the current pandemic situation. There are several communicable and non-communicable diseases that are impacting people, specially, bright youngsters.

Friends,

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

Friends,

India’s size, scale and diversity has always made the global community curious. Our nation is almost four times the size of the USA's population. Many of our states are as populated as European nations. Yet, thanks to a people powered 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 the growth rate of cases. India has one of the highest recovery rates of 88 percent. This happened because: India was one of the first countries to adopt a flexible lockdown when the total cases were just a few hundred. India was one of the first to encourage the usage of masks. India actively began to work on effective contact-tracing. India was one of the earliest to deploy the rapid antigen tests. India has also innovated CRISPR gene editing technology.

Friends,

India is now at the forefront of vaccine development for COVID. More than 30 indigenous vaccines are being developed in our country, Three of them are in an advanced stage. We are not stopping here. India is already working on putting a well-established Vaccine delivery system in place. This digitised network along with digital health ID will be used to ensure immunisation of our citizens.

Friends,

Beyond Covid too, India is known for its proven capacity to produce quality medicines and vaccines at low cost. More than 60 percent of the Vaccines for Global Immunisation are being manufactured in India. We included Indigenous Rotavirus Vaccine in our Indradhanush Immunisation programme. This is a successful example of a strong partnership/ for long lasting results. The Gates Foundation has also been a part of this particular effort. With India’s experience and research talent, we will be at the centre of global healthcare efforts. We want to help other nations enhance their capacities in these sectors.

Friends,

In the last 6 years we have made many interventions which are contributing to a better healthcare system. Take a subject such as sanitation. Improved cleanliness. More toilet coverage. Who does this help the most? It helps the poor and under-privileged. It leads to a reduction in diseases. It also helps women the most.

Friends,

Now, we are ensuring that each household gets piped drinking water. This will further ensure disease reduction. We are setting up more medical colleges, especially in rural areas. This ensures more opportunities for the youth. It brings better healthcare to our villages. We are running the world’s largest health insurance scheme and ensuring access to everyone.

Friends,

May we keep using our collaborative spirit for individual empowerment and collective well-being. The Gates Foundation, and several other organisations are doing wonderful work. I wish you all fruitful and productive deliberations over the next 3 days. I hope to see many exciting and encouraging new solutions coming out from this Grand Challenges platform. May these efforts further a human centric approach to development. May they also give our youth the opportunities to be thought leaders for a brighter future. Once again, I thank the organisers for inviting me.

Thank you.

Thank you very much.

ಭಾರತದ ಒಲಿಂಪಿಯನ್‌ಗಳಿಗೆ ಸ್ಫೂರ್ತಿ ನೀಡಿ! #Cheers4India
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ಸಾಮಾಜಿಕ ಮಾಧ್ಯಮ ಕಾರ್ನರ್ 29 ಜುಲೈ 2021
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