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Khel Mahakumbh 2012-2013 ends on a grand note!

Dear Friends,

I would like to extend my greetings to everyone on the occasion of Basant Panchami. May Goddess Saraswati bless us with the infinite knowledge and wisdom! Whenever there has been the era of knowledge, it is India that has shown the way to the entire world. The 21st century is a century of knowledge and with the blessings of Ma Saraswati, may our nation yet again show the way forward to the humankind.

This morning I met former Indian cricket captain and one of the greatest Indian sportsmen Mr. Kapil Dev in Gandhinagar. We all remember the Indian Cricket Team led by Kapil Dev lifting the cricket World Cup in 1983- it is an event that is etched in the memory of every Indian!

In Gujarat, the last month has been an extremely sporty one! Yesterday I attended the concluding ceremony of Khel Mahakumbh 2012-2013. It was wonderful to be among the most talented sportspersons from all over Gujarat. People cutting across all age groups immersed itself in this unique sports extravaganza that celebrates sports and sportsmanship.

When we commenced the Khel Mahakumbh during Gujarat’s golden jubilee year, we had 13 lakh athletes participating in the various events. Today, in a span of three years that figure has increased to over 25 lakh, which includes over 8 lakh women athletes who added greater strength to the Khel Mahakumbh. A total of 72 records were broken during the Khel Mahakumbh out of which 43 were by sportsmen whereas our sportswomen broke 29 records!

This year’s Khel Mahakumbh saw over 92,000 specially abled athletes participate in various sporting events. To see them shine on the sports field is one of the most satisfying aspects of the Khel Mahakumbh. Each and every one of them has overcome several obstacles to reach here and I wholeheartedly salute them for the their grit and their ‘never say die’ spirit! It is truly an inspiration for every one of us.

We are making every effort to promote a culture of sports among the specially abled. Last year, the Special Olympics family wrote to us, acknowledging the true spirit of the Khel Mahakumbh. During the ceremony yesterday I felicitated Ms. Maya Devipujak, a specially abled athlete from Gujarat who won the gold medal at the World Winter Games (Special Olympics) that were held in South Korea recently. Her humble background did not prevent her from determinately pursuing her dreams and scaling great heights of accomplishments and I can say that the entire Gujarat is proud of her achievement.

Had it not been for the longest election code of conduct in Gujarat through the last part of 2012, we would have held the Khel Mahakumbh in 2012 itself. However, this year we will have two Khel Mahakumbhs- one that just concluded and the 2013 Khel Mahakumbh later this year. Apart from giving a boost to sports, Khel Mahakumbh also looks at capacity building on the sports field. We are not only looking at players but also all facets associated with sports.

As far as sports are concerned, there is one issue that has been bothering for the last few days. I was dismayed to read that the International Olympic Committee is thinking of dropping wrestling from the Olympics from 2020 that too on the flimsy pretext of ‘modernity.’ There is no bigger insult to sports than the fact that a game, which has been a part of human civilisation from time immemorial, be dropped from the world’s most prestigious sporting event on the grounds of ‘modernity.’ There is no room for such ‘games’ in sports!

In India,
Kushti is mentioned from the time of the Mahabharata. In the Olympics as well, several Asian nations have been doing very well in the sport. Thus, it is our duty that all Asian nations- Governments and people must join ranks and stand shoulder to shoulder to oppose this unilateral and unfortunate decision. We do not need to be wrestlers only to speak out against this- as lovers of sport we need to raise our protests. And we should not wait till September 2013 when the final decision will be taken but we must act now!

I hope the IOC takes a decision that is in the interest of sports and the players and not one driven by any other considerations.

 

Yours,

Narendra Modi

Watch : Shri Modi addresses the Concluding Ceremony of Khel Mahakumbh 2013 in Ahmedabad 

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भारताच्या कोविड लसीच्या 100 कोटी आणि त्यापुढच्याही मात्रांची संख्या हेच दर्शवते की लोक सहभाग काय साध्य करू शकतो
October 22, 2021
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India completed vaccination of 100 crore doses on October 21 in about nine months since starting vaccination. The journey from anxiety in early 2020 to assurance has happened, and India has emerged stronger, thanks to the world's largest vaccination drive.

It has been a truly Herculean, bhagirath effort involving multiple sections of society. For any effort to attain and sustain speed and scale, trust of all stakeholders is crucial. One reason for a successful campaign was the trust that people developed in the vaccine and the process followed, despite various efforts to create mistrust and panic. There are some who only trust foreign brands. However, when it came to something as crucial as the Covid-19 vaccine, Indians unanimously trusted

'Made in India' vaccines. This is a significant paradigm shift.

All for One, and One for All

India's vaccine drive is an example of what India can achieve if the citizens and the government come together with a common goal in the spirit of people's participation, or jan bhagidari. Initially, many doubted the capabilities of 130 crore Indians. Some said India would take 3-4 years, while others doubted people coming forward to get vaccinated. There were those who said there will be gross mismanagement and chaos, while others doubted India's ability to manage supply chains.But just like the 2020 national lockdown - janta curfew - and subsequent lockdowns, the people showed how spectacular the results can be if made trusted partners.

When everyone takes ownership, nothing is impossible. There was a lot of pressure from different interest groups to give preferential treatment to them in vaccination. But GoI ensured that there is no VIP culture in the vaccination drive.

In early 2020, it was clear to us that this pandemic will have to be eventually fought with the help of vaccines. We started preparing early. We constituted expert groups and started preparing a roadmap right from April 2020. Till today, only a handful of countries have developed their own vaccines. More than 180 countries are dependent on an extremely limited pool of producers, and dozens of nations are still waiting for the supply of vaccines.

Imagine if India did not have its own vaccine. How would India have secured enough vaccines for such a large population? How many years would that have taken? It is here that credit should be given to Indian scientists and entrepreneurs for rising to the occasion. It is due to their talent and hard work that India is truly aatmanirbhar when it comes to vaccines. Our vaccine manufacturers, by scaling up to meet the demands of such a large population, have shown that they are second to none.

GoI has been an accelerator and enabler of progress. It partnered with vaccine-makers right from day one, and gave them support in the form of institutional assistance, scientific research, funding, as well as accelerated regulatory processes. All ministries came together to facilitate and remove any bottlenecks as a result of the 'whole of government' approach.

In a country of the scale of India, it is not enough to just produce. Focus has to be on last-mile delivery and seamless logistics. To understand the challenges involved, imagine the journey taken by one vial of vaccines. From a plant in Pune or Hyderabad, the vial is sent to a hub in any of the states, from where it is transported to the district hub. From there, it reaches a vaccination centre. This entails the deployment of thousands of trips taken by flights and trains. During this entire journey, the temperature has to be maintained in a particular range that is centrally monitored.

We are the Nation

For this, over 1 lakh cold-chain equipments were utilised. States were given advance notice of the delivery schedule of the vaccines so that they could plan their drives better and vaccines reached them on the pre-decided days. This has been an unprecedented effort in the history of independent India.

All these efforts were complemented by a robust tech platform in CoWIN. It ensured that the vaccine drive was equitable, scalable, trackable and transparent. This ensured that there was no scope for favouritism or jumping the queue. It also ensured that a poor worker could take first dose in his village and the second dose of the same vaccine in the city where he works, after the required time interval. In addition to a real-time dashboard to boost transparency, the QR (quick response)-coded certificates ensured verifiability. There are hardly any examples of such efforts not only in India but also the world.

In my 2015 Independence Day address, I had said that our country is moving ahead because of 'Team India', and this 'Team India' is a big team of our 130 crore people. People's participation is the biggest strength of democracy. If we run the country through the participation of 130 crore Indians, our country will be moving ahead 130 crore steps every moment. Our vaccination drive has yet again showed the power of this 'Team India'. India's success in its vaccination drive has also demonstrated to the whole world that 'democracy can deliver'.

The success achieved in the world's largest vaccination drive should further spur our youth, our innovators and all levels of government to set new benchmarks of public service delivery that will be a model not only for our country, but also for the world.